Brian Irvine believes English Premier League loanees arriving at Ross County need only look to the success of Charlie Adam to see how a stint in the Highlands can help them flourish.
Former defender Irvine remembers a young, yet capable Adam being sent north by Rangers as part of his development.
He knuckled down, listened to advice, impressed and went on to star at the top level in England for Liverpool, Blackpool, Stoke, and for Scotland, before returning to shine for Rangers and is now excelling back at his hometown club Dundee.
County manager Malky Mackay has secured midfielder Alexander Robertson, 18, from Manchester City and left-back Jake Vokins, 21, from Southampton on season-long deals.
Irvine sees no reason why, with the correct guidance here and application from the players, the duo cannot use the Highlands as the best base on which to kick on.
He said: “Malky’s contacts will have given him the chance to bring these boys in. They will be quality players and this will be part of their development.
“It will be a big test for these young lads to come up from Southampton and Manchester City. It will allow them to demonstrate a fair bit of character and resilience.
“Although they are going to be in a totally different environment altogether, if they are good enough players, they will show that right character and continue their development to move on to the next stage.
“Living in the Highlands is totally different from living down south and being at major clubs in England, so they will have to get used to that. If they overcome that and continue their development then there is a great chance they can take a big step forward.
“I can remember Charlie Adam coming on loan to County from Rangers and it helped develop his character and his game and eventually he went on to have an amazing career.”
Cowie’s advice can boost Mackay’s loan players
Don Cowie is now assistant manager to Mackay and Irvine sees the former midfielder as being a key figure in helping the English pair settle in and improve in Dingwall.
He said: “Having a coach like Don Cowie at the club will keep these young players right. He will keep them focused and help them to develop.
“Hopefully Ross County will be the club to benefit from these loans next season.”
TV appeal can drive signings forward at County
County staying in the Premiership should help the manager attract talented players to Dingwall, although Irvine feels the second tier is still a strong division.
The former Aberdeen defender, who played for four years at County until 2003, reckons the loan players can benefit from consistent performances, which can lead to them getting their chance when the cameras roll into town for the bigger matches.
🚨NEW SIGNING ALERT🚨
Welcome to Dingwall Alexander Robertson!
Alexander joins on a season-long loan from English Premier League Champions Manchester City!
— Ross County FC (@RossCounty) July 5, 2021
He added: “The Championship has got a good reputation. I still believe that division has still got pulling power for players.
“It’s like an extension of the Premiership and, had County gone down, I still think they could have attracted players.
“However, I don’t think there’s any doubt that being in the Premiership will help attract players, especially from England. They will know they can appear on live TV games and showcase their abilities.
“That said, it is up to those players to do well in the TV games they will have to have done well in the matches against the teams like Motherwell and St Mirren, those games not on TV.
“That would give them a chance to show when they are on televised games what they can do, which again is great for their development to help take them to the next level that they want to get to.”