FRANK ROSS is apologising for his Dutch pronunciation. He manages Deventer (Day-ven-ter), the place he now calls home after more than a decade at Aberdeen, without much difficulty. But there are others he struggles with. Whisper it, like the name of the sporting director at Go Ahead Eagles, the Dutch second division club he joined last month, following his release by Aberdeen.

Deventer is a picture postcard town, part-Rembrandt masterpiece, part-Second World War movie set. Indeed, so much is it like the latter, that it was the location for Richard Attenborough's epic A Bridge Too Far, a film that just happens to be one of Ross's favourites. For the uninitiated, the movie boasts an all-star cast including Sean Connery as Major-General Roy Urquhart and tells the story of Operation Market Garden, an ill-fated operation to enter Germany through Nazi-occupied Netherlands in 1944.

“I love that film,” says Ross. “Me and my dad have watched it a few times. I always thought the bridge was in Arnhem in south Holland but it turned out it was this bridge [that was used for filming]. The guy that picked me up from the airport took me over [the bridge] and explained to me where the Germans attacked and where the British dropped back. Deventer is like a town from 400 years ago, the buildings are so nice. I think my mum would appreciate it more than I do. When my parents come over I can just chuck them in the town and go back and play my PlayStation.”

A joke is never far from Ross's lips and he speaks with an enthusiasm that is infectious. He says he is hugely optimistic about the move that came about through the help of a former coach, whose name he guards like he's one of Urquhart's spies.

“I don't want to say his name, in case everyone starts asking him for a trial,” he laughs. “He's a coach quite high up in the game. There were a few offers – lower Championship, League 1 – but I wanted to see what else there was so I phoned him, and luckily enough he was good friends with the coach here. He was able to sort a trial out which I was so thankful for.”

His unveiling at Go Ahead Eagles this summer, raised eyebrows not just because of the manner of it – a Twitter video showed Ross dressed in full piper's uniform miming Scotland The Brave on the bagpipes – but also because tales of young Scottish footballers trying their luck abroad remain rare.

“I was being mollycoddled by my mum,” he says. “She was doing all my cooking and all my cleaning, so moving to a foreign country, living by myself, learning football over here – there's so much to learn, I didn't realise there was so much in terms of tactics, until I came here – it's everything packed into one, I think. It's a good learning experience and something I can grow from.

After sustaining multiple injuries at Aberdeen, during loan spells at Ayr United and Morton – and even during a Scotland Under-21 get together, all Ross needed was a break. Alas, that's exactly what he got – a fracture of his shin – following a whack in training by Gino Bosz, the son of Bayer Leverkusen head coach, Peter. A day earlier, Go Ahead's owner Hans de Vroome had told him over the phone that he liked what he had seen of the midfielder.

Ross would have been forgiven for fearing the worst but De Vroome quickly assured him that Go Ahead's offer of a two-year deal with an option for another year remained on the table.

There was further good news when a scan revealed that the bone was healing quicker than expected and that Ross's absence from training would extend to weeks rather than months.

Last week, he attended hospital for a scan on his shin with the club's sporting director. It was none other than Feyenoord legend Paul Bosvelt, an Eredivisie and UEFA Cup winner with the Rotterdam club and holder of 25 caps for Holland but Ross laughs as he confesses he was oblivious to his identity.

“I was with him at the hospital getting the scan. I didn't realise who he was until the nurse recognised him. She was a big Feyenoord fan and I was like 'why is she crazy about him?' and I searched him and I realised he had an unbelievable career. I didn't have a clue,” said Ross of Bosvelt, whom he calls ‘Boskamp’ before correcting himself. “I couldn't work out how I hadn't recognised him. He has got a big Range Rover which should have given it away. I should have realised when I saw the big car.”

Bosvelt is not the only former heavyweight name who has a connection with the Eagles. Marc Overmars, the former Ajax, Arsenal and Barcelona winger, began his career at De Adelaarshorst while legendary managers Leo Beenhakker and Bert Van Marwijk cut their teeth as coach and player respectively at the club. Former Barca assistant Henk ten Cate and one-time Manchester United goalkeeper Raimond Van der Gouw, are two further big names on a formidable list associated with Go Ahead.

The midfielder says he has been doing his research but he is more comfortable discussing more familiar figures from closer to home – Jimmy Calderwood had a four-month spell in Deventer in 2012 while Ross, a Rangers fan when growing up, says his big hero was Fernando Ricksen.

“I used to love Ricksen and there were a lot of Dutch players associated with Rangers,” says Ross, who scored his only goal for Aberdeen – a swerving free-kick during a 2-1 defeat at Pittodrie in 2017 – against his boyhood idols. “What a player he was. I think that was part of the appeal [of his own move]. When you think of Dutch football, you think of good football, organised, defensively sound, technical. When I heard it was a team in Holland I was buzzing.”

When he finally returns to fitness he has been earmarked for a central midfield position having played most of his time in Scottish football on the wing but he says he is happy to play anywhere and has some simple targets.

“I just want to score as many goals as possible this year and in two years we'll see where I am. I have realised that looking too far ahead can be a bad thing. I've signed a two-year deal, there are a lot of positives I can take from it.”

His coach Kees van Wonderen, another Feyenoord legend and formerly the assistant to Ronald Koeman with the Dutch national team, sees him as a No.10. Already van Wonderen has presided over a 2-0 win against Cambuur, the team that led the Eerste Divisie before last year’s campaign was ended prematurely because of Covid-19, and a 0-0 draw against Dordrecht. Ross is impressed by the standard so far, having watched both games and played in a couple of pre-season friendlies.

“We played Jong Utrecht and they were very good. It was Daniel Arzani's first day there and he played. I played against him last year for Aberdeen and I couldn't believe how good he was . . . unbelievable. There's always some big names [in the Eerste Divisie]. When you play against Jong Ajax some of the first-team players play. In previous seasons, Go Ahead played against some of the big Eredivisie teams and they went toe-to-toe with them, so it just shows that we can compete with any team in Holland. I don't know what the coach is going to do. Hopefully he is going to play me but we'll see.”

First he must overcome that injury to which there has been at least one small upside. The time off has allowed him to move into a flat provided by the club in Twello, a town just outside Deventer.

“It's full of old people but I like it, it's nice and peaceful.”

But sometimes too quiet. Ross confesses his calendar is pretty bare in between recuperation and trips to the supermarket as he awaits the delivery of his PlayStation from home.

“Because of coronavirus my family can't get over and I can't get over there to get any clothes. I've only got a couple of jumpers and a couple of pairs of shorts. What do I do? That's a good question. Just write something like 'I go to the cinema'. I'll maybe get a girlfriend to pass the time. I walked past the red light district in Deventer and I looked to my right and I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I didn't spend any money, though,” he laughs again.

That would have been a step, never mind a bridge, too far.