New Ross County manager Derek Adams sure has had a lot to say since his return to Scottish football in late November.
The former Aberdeen, Livingston and Motherwell player came back to Dingwall, where he also played (two stints) and served as manager (two stints), to replace Malky Mackay, who was sacked with the Staggies languishing near the bottom of the table and firmly in the relegation zone.
The Full Scottish
Within a month of retaking charge of the Highlands outfit, here’s what Adams had to say:
“The standard is shocking,” he told the media following a 1-0 home loss to Dundee. “I’ve been back, and I see the standard and I think ‘wow—any chance?’ If I’m a spectator watching this today, I’m thinking ‘is this what Scottish football is all about?’ It needs to up its game.”
He wasn’t finished: “I’ve left a team down in League Two [in England] that’s miles better than this team. Miles. That’s saying something. We had the bottom budget in League Two, and they were 100 times better than this.”
That League Two side he references is Morecambe, which currently sit 17th in the table.
Since Adams’ outburst in mid-December, several players and managers, including a few who have plied their trade in England, have jumped to defend the Scottish game.
Even Adams appears to have had a change of heart, describing his side’s 2-2 with Hearts at Tynecastle as “a great advert for Scottish football.” While emphasizing that he’s “entitled to [his] opinion,” he seemed to imply his earlier remarks were an attempt to light a fire under his players. And that that attempt was successful, of course.
As avid watchers (and defenders) of the Scottish game, we can’t say whether there has been a marked downturn in quality in recent seasons. Perhaps we’re too close (and attached) to the sport. However, it’s fair to say that there does appear to be a wider gulf between the top six and the bottom six in the Premiership, even if the table doesn’t exactly suggest it.
Sixth-place Hibs have been better since manager Nick Montgomery’s arrival, yet they sit just three points ahead of seventh-place Dundee. Still, having seen both play, Hibs seem to be a far better side, though no one will outwork Dundee on any given day.
Hearts, Killie and St. Mirren have all punched above their respective weights this term, despite the latter’s recent home loss to Celtic.
That said, Adams does have a point: With no club outside Celtic and Rangers having a reasonable shot at winning the league—and no team other than Glasgow’s big two having actually done so since Aberdeen in the mid-1980s—Scottish football does need to do something to address the obvious gap in resources. Doesn’t it? (Clearly, they’re in no hurry.) What that is, though, we don’t exactly know. Perhaps Derek Adams can fill us in.