As Scottish Premiership clubs enter the January transfer window, Craig Fowler looks back upon their business so far this season and ranks every signing out of ten.
Aaron McCarey - 5
Signed as a back-up goalkeeper and that’s exactly what he’s been. Played twice against Cove Rangers and St Johnstone, both wins.
Erik Cikos - 4
It’s been a bit of a disappointment for the returning right-back, who caught the eye in his first spell with the club back in 2013-14. He’s largely been behind Marcus Fraser in the pecking order, making only seven appearances and will likely depart if the situation doesn’t change before the summer.
Jay McEveley - 6
Signed as a replacement for Andrew Davies, it all got a bit awkward when the former captain decided to stay last summer. Initially a back-three involving the pair and Paul Quinn was trialled, with disastrous results, as McEveley looked completely erratic and nowhere near the level of ex-Scottish internationalist that County fans were hoping for. Since those rough beginnings, he’s really settled down and has established a solid partnership with Davies at the heart of the defence.
Kenny Van Der Weg - 6
The Dutchman is rather robust for a left-back. He carries a central defender’s build and charges with real power in his runs up and down the flank. Despite this he’s a surprisingly good crosser of the ball, which is great for County’s gameplan. His concentration in defence is a little erratic and he’s suffered some tough days against opposing wingers.
Tim Chow - 7
The 22-year-old had a fairly inauspicious start following his free transfer from Wigan, including a straight red card in County’s 4-0 thrashing at Aberdeen. His performances have really picked up recently, thanks to an established partnership with Routis in the centre of the park. County need non-stop running from their two centre-midfielders in the old school 4-4-2 system and that’s what they get in Chow and Routis.
Christopher Routis - 8
Filling the Jackson Irvine void was always going to be a mammoth task for County, but in Routis and Chow they’ve at least made a satisfactory attempt at doing so. Both are capable of driving up and down the park, Irvine-style, with Routis particularly keen to push play forward. Is value to the side is illustrated in his absence from the team coinciding with their worst period, and the fact he takes most of the set-pieces. A really good signing.
Chris Burke - 7
This could perhaps be bumped up to an 8 despite the fact he’s played only six games thanks to a viral complaint that’s kept him out since mid-November. That’s because he’s really given County a lift since his arrival in late September. Prior to his signing the Highlanders were struggling badly and it took Burke’s presence to remind them of what’s been their true attacking identity under Jim McIntyre: namely, utilise great wing play and get balls into the penalty area. Here’s hoping the 33-year-old returns soon.
Ryan Dow - 4
Like Burke, Dow was another late addition to the squad, signing in September after his release from Dundee United. Unlike Burke, he’s not had much of an impact despite playing in twice as many games. On his day, Dow is a potential match-winner. There’s a real quickness to his play, both on and off the ball, making him a tough opponent for any defender. However, those days are few and far between as he often drifts into the background. County fans were becoming increasingly exasperated until he netted a late winner in the recent 2-1 win over Aberdeen. He followed it up with a strong showing in the derby victory over Inverness CT last time out. There may be hope for him yet.