Ryan Dow left Dundee United to join Ross County less than two years ago but the attacker will recognise more former Arabs team-mates in the Staggies dressing room when United visit Dingwall in the Betfred League Cup tonight.
Dow is part of a Staggies squad that includes former United players Callum Morris, Billy Mckay, Keith Watson and Michael Gardyne, but the 27-year-old will have virtually no acquaintances to welcome in the visiting line-up.
County’s 2-0 victory over Elgin City in Group A at the weekend puts them two points clear of the Arabs, who took just a point from their game against League 1 side Arbroath.
Dow made 112 first-team appearances for United over six years, joining County in 2016. He said: “There’s a few of us ex-United lads at County – you could make a five-a-side team. It is a completely changed squad since my time there. There’s more here at Ross County now than from my time there than there is at Tannadice.
“While we’ve had eight signings, but a lot of the lads already knew each other from past clubs like United and Dunfermline so we’re already a tight-knit squad.
“Going away to Holland in pre-season only brought us closer. The familiarity helps for the season ahead. No one has come in not knowing anybody, so it helps them bed in early. I’m not saying everyone knows everyone but it helps we’ve got people here and there who already know each other.
“It doesn’t feel like there’s been eight new players brought in and we still need to gel. I don’t want to speak too soon, but in the games we’ve played and in training I feel we’ve gelled well considering the turnaround. Hopefully that shows in results on the pitch.”
Dow has been earmarked for a striking berth by County co-managers Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson, having previously been deployed out wide by Jim McIntyre and Owen Coyle, and he feels the move can bring out the best in him.
Dow added: “Throughout my whole career, I’ve been used in different positions. In some ways, I take it as a compliment but in other ways it can be a bit stop-start.
“It can be hard to find consistency playing in different roles.
“The management here see me in a more central role, which I played at Dundee United probably when I had my best couple of seasons. It was me, Stuart Armstrong, Gary Mackay-Steven, Ryan Gauld and we all inter-changed in the formation we played.
“I haven’t really played there since. I’ve had my injury problems, but when I have been back I’ve been used in other roles.
“I feel it is my best role and obviously the manager do as well. But I’ll always play anywhere because I just want to play.
“This year, I think it will be more in a central role and hopefully that will bring more consistency to my game.
“In the end, it is down to me to make sure I stay in the team. Hopefully, I can grab the chance with both hands and start showing the Ross County fans what type of player I am.”