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'I knew it would tough this season but the timing of this is strange'

TIMING is everything in football.

The decision to sack Derek Adams as manager of Ross County may not have come as the biggest surprise given their form but the moment the County hierarchy have chosen for the most important call of the season has raised a few eyebrows.

Having allowed Adams to add seven players to his squad during the transfer window, his successor, MacGregor's abrupt decision has left the 39-year-old's touchline peers reflecting with surprise on the first managerial casualty of the season.

"I heard coming off the training pitch and I was shocked with the timing of it," Alan Archibald, the Partick Thistle manager, said. "It is none of our business but, from a manager's point of view, I think the timing of it is strange. It is a couple of days before the transfer window [closes] so it doesn't give someone a lot of time to go in and change things about. I feel for Derek, he has been fantastic for the club, taking them to a Scottish Cup final and winning the First Division. He can hold his head up high."

Archibald inadvertently played a part in Adams' downfall, his side handing out a 4-0 hammering to County at Firhill just a fortnight ago. It may still be early in the season but the battle to avoid the drop is a more open affair than last season, when a 15-point penalty was imposed on Hearts.

Archibald said: "Chairmen have already started making decisions, whereas they didn't last year after five or six games where there wasn't as much panic. Maybe that is the case where there is not a deduction.

"The play-off will be a totally different situation this year, there could be anything between four and five teams [bidding for promotion from the Championship] and they are all very strong."

A trip to Aberdeen tomorrow gives Archibald's side a chance to get back on track but defenders Jordan McMillan and Daniel Seabourne and midfield pair Gary Fraser and Abdul Osman were all missing from training yesterday due to injury.

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