'Players might not sign for him now' - Hibs boss on rival's rant

Wrong way up? County boss Adams delivered a big thumbs down to Scottish football last weekend.Wrong way up? County boss Adams delivered a big thumbs down to Scottish football last weekend.
Wrong way up? County boss Adams delivered a big thumbs down to Scottish football last weekend.
Monty says majority of clubs will be unaffected by Adams outburst

Nick Montgomery believes Ross County could struggle to attract recruits from England as a result of Staggies gaffer Derek Adams taking a verbal flamethrower to the Scottish Premiership. But the Hibs boss insists all bridges between Scotland’s elite division and its favourite winter market won’t have been burned by one incendiary rant.

Adams, back for a third stint as County head coach, hit the headlines by lashing out in the aftermath of seeing his team lose a 96th-minute winner to Dundee on Saturday. He described the standard of football as “shocking” and said his old Morecambe side, currently sitting eighth in England’s League Two, were “100 times better than this.”

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While some have expressed concern that players from England will be put off by Adams’ low opinion of Scotland’s top league, Montgomery – who takes his team to Victoria Park in pursuit of a result on Saturday - feels that the SPFL’s reputation will be unaffected. With one notable exception.

Asked outright if the negative publicity will make it tougher to attract recruits from south of the Border, Monty said: “I don’t think players will look at that - unless maybe they were being approached to sign for Derek at Ross County. Maybe that’s not somewhere you would want to go after hearing that.

“But there’s some very good clubs in the league and there’s a lot of players who would definitely want to come and play in Scotland. You only have to look at the teams in this league who are playing in the Champions League and in European competition. 

“It’s not an easy league to play in. You have to be physically capable to start with. But it’s a great pathway, a development pathway to go on to the biggest leagues in the world which has been proven time and again.

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“It’s hard for me to comment other than I feel for Derek, conceding a goal in the last minute is ever nice. I’ve been a player and now a manager, it’s not nice, you have a lot of emotion. He’s entitled to his own opinion - and it’s probably his opinion only.”

Monty disagrees with Adams on standard of Scottish game.Monty disagrees with Adams on standard of Scottish game.
Monty disagrees with Adams on standard of Scottish game.

Three wins for Scottish clubs in European competition last week, Rangers topping their Europa League group via a spectacular away result against Real Betis while Celtic defeated Feyenoord and Aberdeen secured a home victory against Eintracht Frankfurt, is a stat many have cited in response to Adams. Montgomery has been among those defending the league. And he also feels that the famously fiery County boss may well have been simply lashing out in his post-match radio interview.

The former Central Coast Mariners manager admitted: “Sometimes I say stuff then, after the game, I think maybe I shouldn’t have said this or that. But when the camera is there, and you’re asked a question, and you answer it honestly then sometimes it reflects well on you - and sometimes it doesn’t.

“Maybe he’ll regret it and maybe he doesn’t. I can’t answer for him. It (his opinion) is not something I can agree with. I think the standard is very competitive. 

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“You saw the Scottish teams in Europe last week getting results against big teams. Some weeks games are highly competitive - and the quality of football can be diluted. But that’s what you have to deal with.

“I think direct is direct. If you say long ball, then it’s long ball - but direct is teams who want to go from back to front really quickly; that’s the tactic that some teams have and you have to cope with that. There are a lot of tall players in this league, and they are a real threat from corners and throw-ins and set pieces into the box, and you have to be prepared for that.

“I think, at times, you have to mix it up. We went direct against Aberdeen and scored a great goal with Dylan Vente’s finish. It is about defending and making sure you are ready for any team you play against. There are a lot of similar teams that play a similar way, with a back five, in this competition. They recruit for that as well. Everybody has their own style.”

Asked if he expected County to come out determined to play beautiful football against Hibs this weekend, Montgomery said: “All we expect is a difficult game. They’ve got some decent players and are highly competitive.

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“They are a physical team. I’m sure Derek has had chats and reviewed the game with them since last week. A lot of those conversations stay in the club. But you have professionals being paid to play for the club. You expect them to go out and perform for the club and the badge every week.”

On the wider issue of judging standards across the world of football, Montgomery is dismissive of attempts to make like-for-like comparisons, insisting: “Every league is different. I’m fortunate I’ve played in the Premier League, the Championship, in Australia, played against teams in China, Japan, Korea …

“Every country has its own culture, and we know here it’s a very working-class culture. People want to see their team play good football and compete week in week out. 

“It’s hard to compare but it’s still a round ball. And the temperature is different; playing in 35 degrees is different to playing in minus-two. You can run around more to keep warm!”

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