LIAM BOYCE believes there is no great secret to Ross County’s success because it’s obvious to him that the club have the best owner and manager in the country.
Few could argue the job Jim McIntyre has done since taking over when they were bottom of the league has been nothing short, in football terms, of a miracle. Equally miraculous is that Roy McGregor is a chairman who actually puts money into the club, goes to the games and is liked and admired by all. How quaint.
When a club has so much going for it then perhaps we should not be too surprised this season has taken Ross County to a League Cup Final against Hibernian, thanks to a second semi-final win over Celtic, and they also have a chance to finish in the top four.
“Roy loves Dingwall and is all about the community,” said Boyce who came on a substitute having just recovered from injury. “He paid for the buses to get more people down. For a small club to have someone like that backing them is a massive factor in why we're doing so well.
“You come in before the game and shake everyone's hands. It keeps you relaxed and even the chairman comes in. You want to do it for him.
“The gaffer has been unbelievable for me. I've got fit and scoring goals and I'm an important part of the team. He and the whole coaching staff deserve it because of the work they put in. He'd be in there for manager of the year if it was up to me.
“Him and Billy Dodds – the gaffer is big and tall and he teaches you wee tricks about how to get the ball, whereas Doddsy is all in and about the box. Most of my goals have been tap-ins so both of them work brilliantly for me.
“We've started well but gone under the radar. We're fourth in the league and doing really well but this should stamp a marker down that we've got quality in the side. We can go a long way and hopefully people start paying attention.”
This season has become just silly for Boyce. He has 17 goals from 22 games, he will go to France in the summer with Northern Ireland for the European Championships and now there is a cup final.
“I won two doubles when I was in Northern Ireland but nothing on this scale,” said the striker. “Playing in big games is all the same – you try keep yourself grounded and not take in the occasion.
“You can get excited and not focusing on what you normally do. But winning the trophies is the same everywhere and hopefully I can take that from Northern Ireland to Scotland."
And now he is fit again, Country are an even stronger side. The 24-year-old is a fine player and this campaign scored his 100th career goal.
County have missed him so McIntyre will be delighted that the popular Belfast boy is back and free from injury.
“I came on towards the end if the semi-final and it was good to just get on the pitch,” said Boyce. “Watching was tough. Credit to the boys for the way they came back – even if the red card and penalty changed the game in our favour.
“We had to stay composed and not get caught up in the occasion. There was a good crowd and they were loud. If there can be even more than that for the final we'll be buzzing.
“I surprised myself. I was going on thinking that because the game was so high-paced, and especially at left-wing and tracking back, I was surprised how fit I was. That's credit to the physio and sports scientist – I've been doing sprints to help keep my fitness up.
“Hopefully I can get the momentum going again. I want to pick up where I left off and force myself in the Euro squad.
“Celtic are such a big club and you just have to deal with talk of the treble. You turn up and do the best you can do and thankfully it was better than what Celtic can do.”