Academy

 

 

In the final piece of the “Going Pro” jigsaw we caught up with Mark Gallagher to talk about signing his first professional contract at the club. Gallagher, who has been a very notable youth player at the club has not been shy with his on-field performances which have led to him being handed his first professional contract this summer.


“It was a good feeling. Obviously, I worked hard during the season to get that contract. I am really happy to get the deal just want to get a good season going forward.”

 

“We get the chance now to be here everyday and play football everyday whereas in the past (when Mark was full time) we still had to go to school and now we can totally focus on our football.”

 

“It has been a good start to the season for me in pre-season I just now want to push for a 1st team place hopefully and try and get as many opportunties as I can. I want to keep playing and winning games in the reserve team too.”

 

On working with experienced Ross County legends such as Richie Brittain, Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson, this is something Mark feels has great value to his football education.

 

“They are all great role models, but all have all played in different positions too. In terms of playing I’m more like Richie (Brittain) so I try and model my game on him, how he passes, and he was also a club captain too, but they are all great role models for us.”

 

“There are also the likes of Don Cowie who has played at the highest levels in Scotland and England so to see how he trains and how he conducts himself every single day is great. Basically, we look to what he does and try to follow those examples.”

 

Mark has had experience playing at Youth & Reserve levels however this year he marked a great performance against Fraserburgh in the Challenge Cup with an outstanding goal. Performing in competitions like this is something Mark is very keen to continue.


“It’s a great platform for us. Obviously, recent history shows that Colts teams tend to struggle in these competitions so we want to be one of the first Colts teams to try and go quite far in the competition and hopefully there will be lots of fans here for our game against Raith too.”

 

Everybody at Ross County FC wishes Mark all the best for the season ahead and continued success with the reserve team.

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Jack Murray was the focus of our next episode of Going Pro. Jack, who has spent the majority of his youth career in Dingwall sat down to talk about signing his first professional deal with Ross County.

 

On signing his deal Jack was both proud but equally excited by what lies ahead. He said “Its probably a dream come true for me to be honest. I have been with the club for 12 years and it has been great to work my way up through the levels.”

 

Jack joined fellow teammate Tom Kelly on the 1st Team’s pre-season trip to Holland. It was an experience that he both enjoyed and learned from. “It was a brilliant experience for us, its where we all want to be. It was a chance to see how the 1st team players work, and we can take things away from that.”

 

Going forward Jack hasn’t set any personal targets but just wants to push to the next level and challenge through improving and finding his consistency. “I haven’t really set any targets, no. Its about taking everyday as it comes really. I just want to keep pushing for that place in the 1st team and see where it goes from there.”

 

Jack, is currently coached by former player Richie Brittain and has been working with Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson over pre-season. Working with coaches that have formerly played for the club is something Jack thinks is important to his development. “It’s a great set up we have here now. Obviously, Richie, Stuart and Steven have their background in coaching youth so they know that process to stepping up and hopefully that will help us along the way.”

 

Everybody at Ross County wishes Jack continued success at our club. 

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In the second of our “Going Pro” series we sat down with Tom Kelly who this summer was one of our four Academy players to sign their first professional deal.

 

“I was delighted. Obviously from being a young boy I have done ball boy duties and those jobs around the club. I’ve also come up through the ranks and been here for 10 or 11 years now so it was great to get a contract.”

 

As well as signing his first professional contract this summer, Tom was also lucky enough to travel to Holland with the 1st team on their pre-season camp. This was something Tom found as a great learning experience and a good opportunity to mix with senior players at the club.

 

“It was a great experience in all honesty. You get to see the standard of the first team every single day and see what it takes to become one of them. You also get a chance to learn what they are like on the pitch and off the pitch, for me it was about trying to fit in with the guys in the dressing room.

 

We also took the chance to find out what the progression was like in signing his deal. Tom has come right the way through our Youth System here at Ross County and making the step to professional was one he felt can be replicated by others with the opportunities now available.

 

“The transition has been made quite smooth for us really. We feel like there are a lot more chances here for young players at the club. Obviously from 18’s you want to push on to the Reserves and try and catch the eye of the Managers and then try to get through to the 1st team.”

 

“With the two managers having a background in youth football, they want to give young boys a chance but its on us to have high standards and show them that we are capable and also that they can trust us in their team.”

 

Everybody at Ross County FC wishes Tom all the very best for the upcoming season and for, what we hope, will be a long career here at the Global Energy Stadium.

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One of the best news stories to come out from the Staggies this summer was the announcement of 4 Academy Graduates signing full time professional contracts. The announcement came hot on the heels of last season where Tom Grivosti and Ross Munro made the step up to the 1st team, both claiming medals in the Challenge Cup and Championship successes. In the first of our four part series we catch up with each of the new “Pro’s” in the Staggies ranks, in this feature we speak to Joel MacBeath.

 

Joel has been with the County Academy for a number of years and last season also scooped the Reserve Team Player of the Year. Signing his professional contract was a massive achievement for Joel but something he hopes people see he has worked hard for. “It was a great feeling signing professional. I knew I had a good season towards the end, obviously I was a bit unlucky with injuries at the beginning (of the season), but I came back, scored goals and got on to the bench for the 1st team, I did work hard so I felt like I merited it in that sense. It was just a great feeling to have the contract offered to me.”

 

For a lot of us out there reading this, its easy to ask the question “Well what does turning professional mean?”. Turning professional is the ultimate progression, there is no “apprentice” tag anymore its about competing at the same level as the 1st Team and trying to get your break through in to the 1st Team Squad.

 

“Signing my contract didn’t change too much for me. I was used to travelling up the road and I knew the club really well and I was also here full time before as an apprentice before signing the contract. There wasn’t too much of a transition for me. The facilities here are great as well. You can do the on and off field training, we have the gym and I now live locally so I have the facilities on my doorstep.”

 

Signing his first professional contract is not the “be all and end all” for MacBeath. One of the things he stressed to us the most across our chat was the need to set personal targets and fulfill a lot of his big ambitions. “I’ve got a lot of ambition. I want to make it through to the first team, I do want to be as successful as I can. I want to go on and represent my country. Its about taking all of the little goals and achievements and piecing them together.”

 

“I think now I just have to keep working hard on the pitch and off the pitch. Richie is always telling us we need to do more. I also need to then take that work on to the pitch and continue scoring goals and providing assists and link up the play."

 

Everybody in and around Ross County wishes Joel every success for this forthcoming season and look forward to seeing him continue to develop here at the Global Energy Stadium. 

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