Ross County manager Jim McIntyre has challenged youngster Tony Dingwall to make himself a regular in the side after impressing in his first start of the season in Tuesday’s League Cup quarter-final win against Caley Thistle.
Wide midfielder Dingwall made the breakthrough into the County first team last season, making 20 appearances and scoring twice before his progress was interrupted by a hand injury.
The 21-year-old has been slower off the mark this season, having been restricted to just six substitute appearances prior to starting in this week’s Highland derby victory, which took the Dingwall side into the semi-finals of the League Cup for the first time.
Dingwall’s recall came after he impressed McIntyre in training and netted in a SPFL Development League match against Hamilton last week.
McIntyre was pleased to see the youngster follow that up with a fine first-team performance and said: “I was delighted. It has been a frustrating time for him.
“Tony showed last season what a good player he could be for this club. It has taken him a while to get himself going this season.
“In the last couple of weeks, he has looked very sharp in training and done well, scoring a goal for the Development League side which always helps confidence levels.
“I thought the other night in the derby he grew and grew into the game. He got better and better as the game went on. That comes from that wee bit of belief.”
Dingwall is a local youngster who came through the Staggies’ youth academy. Since County were promoted to the top-flight in 2012, only he and Steven Ross, who is now at Dumbarton, have made first-team appearances having progressed from the club’s youth ranks.
McIntyre is keen to see more make the step up and added: “It can be down to confidence with young players but also their character. Some players have stronger characters than others and can manage to dig out a performance even when they are not playing well.
“Other players need confidence. It’s a mixture but, generally, wide players and forward players feed off confidence.”