Jack Baldwin has been the main man in defence since his summer arrival and has certainly been dealt his fair share of the plaudits – and rightly so.
But with the commanding number five being suspended for two games courtesy of reaching the yellow card limit – twice – there were whimpers of concern surrounding the solidity of the Ross County defence when Baldwin’s name was missing from the team sheet.
Despite last week’s 2-0 loss to Celtic, the defence has still been overwhelmingly solid.
Captain Keith Watson replaced missing Baldwin to play alongside left sided centre-half Alex Iacovitti.
Now in his second season with County, Iacovitti has flown under the radar whilst continually improving his game.
Iacovitti a different animal under Mackay
Under Kettlewell, whom he was signed by, and John Hughes, Iacovitti was always a mainstay of the starting XI however always seemed like he wasn’t fully confident in his role and occasionally had a mistake in him.
But this season he has been a different animal.
Being managed by former Scotland international centre back Malky Mackay whilst playing alongside such a commanding figure in Jack Baldwin has improved Iacovitti’s game tenfold.
All aspects of his game have improved.
He seems to have an extra yard of pace; his passing is more pinpointed, and his aerial dominance is assertive.
However, the most prevalent improvement of the former Scotland under 21 player is his reading of the game.
This was shown in abundance at Tynecastle, when he often stepped out of defence to beat the Hearts forwards to the ball whilst reclaiming possession for Malky’s side.
The way he does it is so enjoyable to watch, using his pace and power to step on to match some of the best forwards in the country is seriously commendable.
County fans will be desperate that the big defender signs a new contract.
This seemed a likely possibility most of the season – however his eye-catching performances of recent weeks are sure to have had clubs higher up the food chain pursuing the soon to be out of contract defenders services.