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Don Cowie looks for calm at Ross County after stepping in to fill the breach left by Derek Adams' resignation


By Alasdair Fraser

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Ross County interim manager Don Cowie speaks to the media on Monday ahead of Wednesday night’s game against Rangers. Picture: Ken Macpherson.
Ross County interim manager Don Cowie speaks to the media on Monday ahead of Wednesday night’s game against Rangers. Picture: Ken Macpherson.

Don Cowie says his first task will be to restore “a calmness” to Ross County after a stormy 79 days under Derek Adams.

The Premiership club confirmed it was not actively looking for an alternative candidate after naming club legend Cowie as interim manager for an unspecified length of time.

The 40-year-old, with a hugely successful past club and international playing career at club and rich coaching experience at County, declared himself ready for his first big frontline post.

Having coached the first team under Stuart Kettlewell and then John Hughes, Cowie served as assistant under both Mackay and Adams.

A respected figure with the players, he will look to unite the squad after a short but controversy-strewn spell under Adams.

Ross County interim manager Don Cowie alongside his assistant manager Carl Tremarco.
Ross County interim manager Don Cowie alongside his assistant manager Carl Tremarco.
ICT's Carl Tremarco keeps possession from Ross County's Don Cowie in their Highland derby days.
ICT's Carl Tremarco keeps possession from Ross County's Don Cowie in their Highland derby days.

Cowie’s predecessor, back for his third stint in charge at the club, caused uproar with several post-match pronouncements.

An initially positive start, with seven points from nine, plummeted into a nine-game winless run featuring only two draws, culminating in Adams’ resignation after a 5-0 thumping at Motherwell.

Cowie, who will be assisted by head of youth Carl Tremarco, said: “My remit is to take charge of the football club on an interim basis. There is no timescale on that. The club is not actively looking for a manager.

“It is my job to bring a calmness to this club and make sure we get the players playing again, and being competitive, making sure we stay in this league.”

Don Cowie in 2018 action against Partick Thistle.
Don Cowie in 2018 action against Partick Thistle.

Cowie’s playing career took him from seven first team years at County to Caley Thistle, Watford, and then Cardiff City at the peak of his playing days, tasting the English Premier League.

There were also 10 Scotland caps and moves to Wigan, Hearts and then back to Dingwall, completing the full circle.

Cowie said: “I’m very proud to be in the position I’m in right now.

“I feel I’m ready. If it wasn’t here it could have been somewhere else. The fact it is Ross County, I’m delighted.

“Being at this football club (as permanent manager) is something I’d love to do, but I know it is about getting results. I’m not looking too far ahead.

Ross County interim manager Don Cowie puts Irish defender James Brown through his paces this week. Picture: Ken Macpherson.
Ross County interim manager Don Cowie puts Irish defender James Brown through his paces this week. Picture: Ken Macpherson.

“The focus is on making an impact on the team before the end of this season.”

Cowie, who faces Rangers away in his first match on Wednesday night, can draw on a rich array of experiences in the game.

He said: “I’ve worked under some unbelievable managers. Throughout, I looked at where I could take help, advice and experience from.

“I’ve worked under Brendan Rodgers at Watford which was a real eye-opener in terms of the level of detail.

“I worked under Sean Dyche – a motivator – and Malky Mackay has played a big part in my career. There are countless others I could mention.

Derek Adams and Don Cowie.
Derek Adams and Don Cowie.
Past Ross County manager Malky Mackay with assistant manager Don Cowie.
Past Ross County manager Malky Mackay with assistant manager Don Cowie.
Past Ross County manager John Hughes alongside Ross coach Don Cowie.
Past Ross County manager John Hughes alongside Ross coach Don Cowie.

“It is also about me being myself and making sure I put my own stamp on it.

“The message to the players is about togetherness. There are a number of players who have come in at the end of the (January) window and were probably wondering what was going on.

“I have made it clear we need everyone. Ross County do well when we are united on and off the pitch. That’s the main message.”

Asked how difficult it might be to repair confidence after the damaging run of results under Adams, Cowie stressed: “It is not difficult.

“Players move on very quickly. When a manager changes, a lot of players get a lift. It happens in football all the time.

Ross County interim manager Don Cowie speaks to the media on Monday ahead of Wednesday night’s game against Rangers. Picture: Ken Macpherson.
Ross County interim manager Don Cowie speaks to the media on Monday ahead of Wednesday night’s game against Rangers. Picture: Ken Macpherson.

“We let ourselves down last week against Motherwell, as a club. Now it is about getting back to being united again and showing on the pitch what we can do.

“It helps because I know the personalities I have within the club.

“I know the potential that’s here, I know the ability. They are all very good players.

“Confidence has taken a knock and it is about me giving them that belief and that platform to show what they can do.”

Cowie’s namesake dad played for, coached and was assistant manager under Bobby Wilson at the club.

Cowie himself, used to be seen on the team bus in the Highland League era from the age of seven or eight.

He said: “My family are very proud. They know it’s something I have been working towards.

“When I came back to Ross County five-and-a-half years ago, I started that journey of becoming a coach.

Don Cowie celebrates after scoring for Ross County in 2004. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Don Cowie celebrates after scoring for Ross County in 2004. Picture: Ken Macpherson

“I was still playing at the time, and I started with the under-18s in my first season here.

“It has been steady progress. I went from first team coach to assistant manager, and now I feel ready to be sitting here as the manager.”

Pressed on what kind of approach he will take after calamitous recent form, Cowie outlined his vision, but also had warm words for predecessor Adams.

He said: “I want us to be a threat going forward.

“When you are at Ross County, and want to be a success, the cornerstone of that is to work hard.

“The fans need to see a team that they can relate to, one that is giving everything for their club.

Ross County interim manager Don Cowie pictured yesterday (Mon) ahead of Wednesday night’s game against Rangers. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Ross County interim manager Don Cowie pictured yesterday (Mon) ahead of Wednesday night’s game against Rangers. Picture: Ken Macpherson

“I know that every player has their own strengths and abilities, and I will be trying my best to give them that freedom to show it.

“Most of these players have got far more ability than I had, but if you put the work-rate in, the professionalism, and maximise what you’ve got – you can achieve anything in football.

“That’s my message to them.

“It was difficult at the end of last week off the back of the Motherwell game, and Derek leaving the club.

Ross County interim manager Don Cowie takes the players for training. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Ross County interim manager Don Cowie takes the players for training. Picture: Ken Macpherson

“Derek has been a massive part of the success at this club, so I’ve got a huge amount of respect for him.

“We had a very good working relationship.

“Having no game this weekend allowed the players to have a couple of days off just to reset.

“My message was to come in on Monday and be clear, ready and focused going into Wednesday’s game.

“That’s exactly what they have done.”


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