Ross County boss Malky Mackay insists he has a key player off the pitch – the man who spends his week working on it.
Staggies’ groundsman Davie Fraser has the Victoria Park surface looking like a bowling green with the Premiership season now hurtling towards a thrilling conclusion.
County are set to host third-placed Hearts on Saturday as they target a top-six finish, and the daily contribution by Davie is not going unnoticed by Mackay.
While other pitches around the country are showing signs of wear-and-tear after nine months of action, the manager feels the lush surface in Dingwall helps his team get the ball down to pass and move around opponents.
He said: “My office looks out over the pitch and, every time I walk by it, Davie is out with a pair of scissors, day and night. Honestly, I’ve never met a man so obsessed.
“Obviously (chairman) Roy (MacGregor) has put money into it to make sure it is good, but we’ve got a groundsman that is obsessed with this pitch.
“We’re also in a situation where we’ve got a stadium that is open enough to the elements – that can be a bad thing, but, with the sun and the rain, and a guy who tends to it every minute of every day, that’s why we’re seeing it look so good.
“I know at times it can be torrential rain and the pitch can cut up, but this season we’ve been fortunate in certain ways that that hasn’t happened.
“It has been immaculate, terrific, and that’s great credit to Davie, our groundsman, who as I say is absolutely obsessed with his job – and it makes mine easier.
“I want that pitch to be free-flowing, I want us to be in a situation where we can play football.
“There have been a couple of pitches we’ve been to this year that haven’t been anywhere near that, so I’m delighted with it. Again, great credit to Davie.”
Behind-the-scenes stars helping County succeed
Mackay feels the dedication shown by Davie is mirrored throughout the stadium and that’s part of the reason why they are at Scottish football’s top table.
He added: “He’s a terrific guy as well, and it’s just an extension of everyone I see that works for this football club.
ℹ️ 𝕊𝕦𝕡𝕡𝕠𝕣𝕥𝕖𝕣 𝕀𝕟𝕗𝕠𝕣𝕞𝕒𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟
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“It’s a very small staff that actually runs this stadium day-to-day, way smaller than anything I’ve ever seen.
“Everyone has two hats, but the work that’s put in here by the 10 individuals is exceptional. It’s way above and beyond what people do at other football clubs that I’ve seen before.
“That’s one of the reasons the club is the size that it is but it’s in the Premiership.”
County will hope to use the slick surface to their advantage against Hearts – who can also play a bit – as the Jambos get close to securing third spot.
Next week, the Dingwall club face Aberdeen at Pittodrie in the final fixture before the league splits, which could well be a game with plenty at stake.