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The Highland Line: celebrating how Derek Adams brought joy to us Staggies

One fan said it all on Twitter: "Having a wee dram and toast to Derek Adams - thanks for the good times, there were plenty!"

Although there was disquiet about the dreadful start to the season Ross County have made, only the hardest hearted amongst the Staggies' faithful wouldn't have felt a few twinges for their sacked manager who had also played for the club.

The team sits bottom with zero points while their great rivals Inverness are at the top with 10. But nobody can deny that Adams, along with his father George (the director of football, and also shown the door), presided over the greatest years in the club's history.

The historic day in 2010 when County went to Hampden and beat Celtic 2-0 in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup will probably never be matched. Promotion to the SPL and finishing fifth in the first season weren't bad either. Seventh last season in a league of 12 is respectable..

Derek himself described it as "the incredible journey", rightly adding: "Our David has notched victories against the Goliaths of Scottish football more often than we might have reasonably expected."

So it is just so sad that it has ended this way for Adams. He is a proud man and most assumed he would leave the club of his own volition, possibly even at the end of this season if he kept Ross County in the top tier. Had he done that, it wouldn't have been long before a bigger club came calling anyway.

But if Derek and George Adams oversaw County's rise to the top, the man who put them there felt he had to act to keep it there.

It clearly wasn't an easy thing for Chairman Roy MacGregor to do. He was obviously genuine when he said: "It's the most difficult decision I've ever had to make in football.

"This is an industry where this happens and it's always a sad time, and it's a time for reflection. All I have personally is tremendous memories of the influence both Derek and George had at this football club."

But he did say that there were reasons both on and off the field for the move. Indeed, there are rumours that MacGregor was not always best pleased about quite acerbic comments his young manager was capable of making, particularly in post-match interviews when his team had lost.

MacGregor, the man behind the growth of the highly successful Global Energy Group, has been trying hard to ensure that Ross County is a respected and valued voice at the top table of the Scottish game. He sees the importance of this not just to the club he supported in the Highland League when he was a boy, but to the Highlands. That mission certainly hasn't been made any easier by Derek Adams cutting an increasingly unpopular figure in the game.

The chairman's views on the signing policy pursued by Adams are not known. But the recent emphasis on European, particularly Dutch, players has raised a few eyebrows amongst the support.

The more so when they look across the pitch to see the Highland Football Academy and question why it hasn't produced more young players for the first team by now. There has long been talk of particularly promising young graduates, but so far they haven't featured in the Premier League.

Fans also remember that the Cup Final team and the sides that won promotion and fifth place were largely Scottish.

Some of the new signings have hardly set the heather on fire. Meanwhile players that were allowed to leave, despite having been so influential, such as midfielder Iain Vigurs now with Motherwell, continue to perform with distinction.

It is also worth remembering that among those who departed as another father and son team. Midfielder Alex Cooper was shown the door by Derek Adams in May shortly after his father, assistant manager, Neale Cooper suffered the same fate.

So frenetic have the signings been that Adams has effectively had four teams in the last year and a half, the last with the addition of 10 new players

Intriguingly, some fans have been calling for Terry Butcher to be appointed as the new boss, but others are not so sure, having watched Hibs' fall and relegation.

But until a replacement is announced, it is only right that a glass is raised to Adams father and son, as we recall that day at Hampden four years ago.

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