Joel Sked breaks down the season thus far for every team in our series of Ladbrokes Premiership mid-term report cards.
A top-six finish at the winter break following their second Highland derby success. They have picked up after a poor start with only two defeats in the last nine, a run which includes a defeat of Aberdeen, a win at St Johnstone and a draw with Rangers and Hearts. Liam Boyce is in the form of his life.
Jim McIntyre struggled to find a balance in midfield following the departure of Jackson Irvine, while trying to fit Paul Quinn, Andrew Davies and Jay McEveley into the same defence proved to be to the detriment of the team as a whole. Despite the fire-power in the County side, County have relied to much on Boyce’s goals, the team failing to score in eight games.
Liam Boyce. Liam Boyce. Liam Boyce. Thirteen league goals, only one of which was a penalty. He leads the scoring charts in the Ladbrokes Premiership. His movement in and around the box is excellent, eyeing any sort of weakness in an opposition’s back-line. He is well-versed at finding space between defenders to head past helpless goalkeepers.
Many of the improvements required were beginning to bare fruit prior to the break. Davies needs to find the form which made him one of the league’s best centre-backs last season, while Alex Schalk, Craig Curran et al could do with helping ease the load on Boyce, while simultaneously not getting in his way.
A hangover from the League Cup winning season, plus the loss of Irvine, stalled any progress at the start. Yet, County find themselves where they want to be and are on the up.