Ross County Football Club are delighted to announce that former Rangers and Heart of Midlothian player and two time Highland League-winning manager (with Brora Rangers) - Davie Kirkwood - has been appointed as the club’s new Head of Youth Academy Programme.
Speaking about his appointment, the UEFA Pro Licence holder - who has coached at Raith, Motherwell, Rangers and Ross County - said: “When asked by Steven Ferguson to become the Head of Youth Academy Programme it was an easy decision to make. I see the drive and passion of our Chairman and Steven in making a success of this new project and certainly want to be part of the Vision and Values of this fantastic club.
“Looking after the 13-17 age group, I will look to ensure that we have a steady stream of talent coming through the ranks ready to make the step up to full time football with our Development Squad. We have have had considerable success there already in the last couple of seasons but the new structure will give us - and the young players - an even better chance of reaching the standards required to become a full-time professionals.”
Academy Director, Steven Ferguson said: “Being able to bring David Kirkwood back to the club is a huge plus for our Academy. David is a UEFA Pro Licence holder which needs no introduction in footballing circles. He has been volunteering with our under 15s for around 18 months and jumped at the chance to return to the club as full time Head of Youth Programme (responsible for ages 13 - 17 years).
At the same time, the club has appointed Charlie McPhee as Head of Children’s Programme and Gordon Duff as Community Manager. McPhee will be responsible for the 8-12 year old age group in the club’s development programme; in his new role Duff will head up the Community department and look to drive forward the club’s vision and community projects and initiatives throughout the Highlands as well as seeking to enhance and further engage with the surrounding community and beyond.
Speaking about his appointment, McPhee said: “I am delighted to take up the position of Head of Children’s Academy Programme at the club. This is a fantastic opportunity for me and accepting the role certainly didn’t take a lot of thought from my point of view. When I heard the Chairman and Steven talking about the plans and the direction that they want to go in, I couldn’t say no.
“I now look forward to ensuring that all the young players here at Ross County have all the tools that they need to be successful.”
Commenting on his appointment, Duff said: “I am delighted to be given this new opportunity as Community Manager. We are very much a proactive club and always look to be at the heart of our community, which is where every football club should belong.
“We are delivering some great programmes throughout our region and have a lot of good people behind the scenes who work very hard who I look forward to working alongside. I know the sort of life-changing impact we can make as a football club, and the aim will be to continue to drive this throughout the Highlands & Islands.”
Speaking about the three major appointments which come just days after he was named the club’s first Academy Director, Steve Ferguson said: ‘Gordon, Charlie and David have all had a long term connection with the football club and understand the club’s values and visions. I have no doubt that these three appointments will enhance both our Community and Academy Structure.
“I am delighted and excited with the appointments of Gordon, David and Charlie,” added Ferguson. “The changes are vital for the direction we want to go in. Gordon has done a fantastic job for over 10 years working in our community department and by appointing him as Community Manager this will give him the responsibility and the freedom to implement his own ideas.
“Charlie has also worked at the club for a number a years and appointing him as Head of Children’s Programme (responsible for ages 8-12 years) is a natural progression for his own development that will move his focus from participation to performance in the Academy structure.”