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How does Ross County interim manager Don Cowie’s Scottish Premiership record compare to predecessors Malky Mackay and Derek Adams?

By Andrew Henderson

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Ross County have a weekend off this Saturday ahead of the Scottish Premiership split, which will give them a chance to reflect on the season so far.

It has been a tumultuous time in Dingwall, with three different managers at the helm as the Staggies battle relegation.

Malky Mackay, Derek Adams and Don Cowie – on an interim basis – have each led the side into roughly a third of the season.

Things certainly seem to be looking up for the club under Cowie, highlighted by a first ever win for Ross County over Rangers last time out.

How does Cowie’s record compare to his predecessors though? We’ve got the statistics you need to compare all three.

Ross County's three managers in the 2023/24 season: Malky Mackay, Don Cowie and Derek Adams.
Ross County's three managers in the 2023/24 season: Malky Mackay, Don Cowie and Derek Adams.

Malky Mackay

Played: 12, Won: 2, Drawn: 4, Lost: 6; Goal difference: -10

Biggest win: 1-0 away at Kilmarnock; Biggest defeat: 4-0 away at Aberdeen

Malky Mackay started 2023/24 with a squad that had received significant investment after dramatically securing top flight football in last season’s play-off final.

Unfortunately for him, the excitement that came with a host of new signings – including returning talisman Eamonn Brophy – quickly faded when league action kicked off and results did not improve.

Admittedly, a tricky run of games saw him face defending champions Celtic twice, but it would be his second match against St Johnstone that proved the final straw for chairman Roy MacGregor.

A win percentage this season of 16.67, and a points per game ratio of 0.833 ultimately was not good enough given the reinforcements at his disposal, and the decision was made that a change was needed.

Most used XI:

Derek Adams

Played: 11, Won: 2, Drawn: 3, Lost: 6; Goal difference: -9

Biggest win: 3-0 at home against Motherwell; Biggest defeat: 5-0 away at Motherwell

Derek Adams returned to Dingwall for what would turn out to be an ill-fated third spell in charge of the Staggies in November.

Memories of his past successes with Ross County returned to the forefront of supporters’ minds, and at first it looked as though he would be able to turn the club’s season around with seven points from his opening three matches.

However, comments made in post-match press conferences quickly stole the headlines from performances.

A win percentage of 18.18, working out at a points per game of just 0.818, saw Adams turn the squad over in January, but just four league games after making the majority of his signings he would resign from the club with the joint-shortest tenure of any boss in the club’s history.

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Don Cowie

Played: 10, Won: 3, Drawn: 2, Lost: 5, Goal difference: -5

Best result: 3-2 win at home against Rangers; Biggest defeat: 3-2 away at Rangers

When Don Cowie was handed the reigns, his task was a simple one: unite the squad.

That seemed to be the only way Ross County would have a chance of avoiding the bottom two in this season’s Premiership, and while there is still work to be done on that front, so far Cowie has delivered.

The atmosphere around the Global Energy Stadium is night and day from the turn of the year, and Cowie has used a mix of both Mackay and Adams’ signings on a regular basis.

His win percentage so far of 33.33, with a points per game ratio of 1.1, puts him far ahead of either of the other two. In fact, it is notable that Cowie has contributed more points than either of his predecessors despite having taken the team for the least matches of the three.

Going into the final five matches of the season, there is plenty of optimism around Dingwall that the season will end on a high note.

The question will remain regardless of whether that happens though: has Don Cowie done enough to be named Ross County manager on a permanent basis?

Most used XI:

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