DEREK Adams believes last night’s torrid examination from Dutch top-flight side PEC Zwolle will prove perfect preparation for Ross County’s Scottish Premiership opener against Celtic next Saturday.
PEC Zwolle: Benson (21),Saymak (27), Fernandez (55,61), Nijland (76); Ross County: Sproule (26)
The County manager saw his team crash to a 5-1 defeat, but stressed he had fully expected such a tough work-out. Zwolle, 11th in the Dutch Eredivisie last season, had beaten German side Werder Bremen 3-2 away only nine days earlier.
The presence of Polish international Mateusz Klich in midfield also underlined a class that soon became apparent.
Adams, though, feels the Staggies got exactly what they needed before facing the champions in Glasgow. He said: “We knew what we were taking on in the game and we knew the quality of the opposition. I wasn’t surprised by the scoreline or how good they were. I took on the friendly to play against a team of that quality because we’re going to Celtic Park next week. Celtic are as good as PEC Zwolle, so it is pretty much ideal preparation. We needed to play a top-class team. We’ve had a difficult week training-wise and we’ve enjoyed it. We were training everyday, so next week is about rest and recovery.”
Adams will make a decision on Swiss-Macedonian trialist Orhan Mustafi next week. The striker spent the week with County in Holland. Adams is also still speaking to released Dundee United defender Brian McLean, but stressed there is rival interest from elsewhere.
On a watered artificial surface, the slick Dutchmen took the lead through Dutch-Ghanaian Fred Benson after 21 minutes. Ivan Sproule levelled with a terrific low striker in 26 minutes, but the joy was short-lived for 50 watching Staggies in the 1200 crowd as the Zwolle restored their lead just a minute later and then added another three after the break. County were boosted by the 72nd-minute return of Dutchman Melvin de Leeuw after an ankle injury.
Ross County: Brown, Kovacevic, Gordon, Kettlewell, Saunders, Micic, Sproule, Brittain, Luckassen, Quinn, Cooper. Subs: Fraser, Munro, Boyd, Klok, Maatsen, Glen, Ross, De Leeuw.