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Elgin City manager Gavin Price thrilled by loan signing as former Inverness Caley Thistle and Ross County midfielder Ross Draper is farmed out by Cove Rangers

By Craig Christie

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ROSS Draper can be a "massive presence" in the Elgin City team after completing a loan move from Cove Rangers to Borough Briggs.

Ross Draper in action for Ross County. Picture - Ken Macpherson.
Ross Draper in action for Ross County. Picture - Ken Macpherson.

That's the view of City boss Gavin Price after bringing in the former Caley Thistle and Ross County midfielder until January.

Draper (32) won the Scottish Cup with Caley Thistle in 2015 and the Championship and Challenge Cup at Ross County before being released by the Dingwall club in May and moving to Cove.

After five games this season he was diagnosed with an injury linked to bone bruising, but after taking injections he will be able to return to playing later this month and has been farmed out by Cove to bring him back to full fitness at Elgin.

Price revealed the deal to bring the Englishman in had almost fallen through but he was delighted to rescue it just ahead of the deadline for loan signings last night.

Draper is likely to debut for City in their League Two match against Albion Rovers on October 17, the week after their SPFL Trust Trophy tie against Draper's old club Caley Thistle.

Elgin's manager is thrilled to bring in a player with huge Scottish League experience at the top level.

Elgin City manager Gavin Price.
Elgin City manager Gavin Price.

"We’ve come up against him in games against Ross County and he is a massive, massive presence on the pitch," Price said.

Draper (right) in action against Elgin at Borough Briggs in 2017. Picture - Ken Macpherson.
Draper (right) in action against Elgin at Borough Briggs in 2017. Picture - Ken Macpherson.

"He’s got so much experience and he can play in a couple of positions whether it’s centre half or holding midfielder.

"The one criticism of the team is that we’ve maybe not had that physical presence in the middle of the park that can impose us on games and he will certainly bring that.

"We’ve known about his situation for a couple of weeks but it looked like it wasn’t going to happen - but we got it through," he said.

More Elgin City news: Falkirk striker Jaime Wilson makes loan switch to Borough Briggs.

Draper joined Caley Thistle after three seasons at Macclesfield and spent five successful years playing in the Premier League.

He netted twice against Celtic in his opening season and helped Inverness reach the League Cup final, suffering the agony of a penalty shootout defeat to Aberdeen.

He was a Premier League player of the month and a star act in Caley Jags' midfield, and in 2015 he played a big part in the Highland club's famous 3-2 Scottish Cup semi-final victory over Celtic, before the defeated Falkirk 2-1 in the final for the club's greatest trophy triumph.

After five years in Inverness he joined Ross County in 2017, and in his second season there he won the Championship to take County back to the Premiership, as well as helping them lift the Challenge Cup for the third time.

It was a surprise when Draper was released by County in May but Cove moved quickly to snap him up for League One football.

His recent injury means it will be the middle of this month before he is fit to play for Elgin.

"The understanding is that he’s not going to be available for the next couple of games but after that we are hopefully going to get him up to speed and he’ll obviously be a massive presence for us," Price added.

"He’s just had to get an injection and he will be back playing probably after the Inverness game, and he will be able to train with us after the next week.

"He will need a week to get ready and we won’t rush him in for the Inverness game, it’s too soon but hopefully he will be available for Albion Rovers in the middle of October."

Draper's signing is the second loan capture of the week for Elgin, who yesterday brought in former Rothes striker Jaime Wilson, who is currently with League One Falkirk.

"We hope the loans work out, we’ve gone down the road of trying to get more experience in and I hope that will prove to be the right decision," Price said.

"We’ll have to be mindful of what happens in the second half of the season but it certainly gives us good options.

"I think it shows good intentions from the club and helps to give us the best chance available to climb up the league and challenge for the play-offs again."

As well as Wilson and Draper, City have also made loan signings to bring in Tom Grivosti from Ross County and Nathan Cooney from Dundee United for the first half of this season.

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