COUNTY boss Owen Coyle has urged starlet Davis Keillor-Dunn to maintain his current levels following a whirlwind start to his senior career.
Keillor-Dunn bagged his first goal for the Staggies last weekend against Hearts and has been a livewire from the flank since he was handed his debut by previous manager Jim McIntyre earlier in the season.
The Sunderland-born former Chesterfield youngster is not one to lack confidence, already professing his desire to make himself a regular for County and earn honours for Scotland’s under-21 side. He qualifies to play through his grandfather.
Coyle has handed him starts in both games so far and wants him to stay grounded – not forgetting the work he has put in to get to this level.
“I really liked the look of him in training and he’s the kind of player I’ve always had in my teams,” said Coyle yesterday.
“You always try and have match-winners at the top end of the park. He’s a young kid with potential. He’s doubled the number of games he’s played under me and I like what he’s brought.
“He’s got to stay grounded, stay focused and remember the same things that have brought him to where he is. He’s got to keep producing.
“I’ve been there when young players have lost their way for whatever reason, so it is important that hunger and desire remains.
“The thing I like about the kid as well is that he had a setback earlier in his career and has shown tremendous mental resilience.
“It’s important when kids have had a bit of rejection or a setback to have the mentality to bounce back again.
“His father has played a good part in that because he comes from a footballing background. He has kept Davis on a steady path. If he keeps improving we’re going to have a really good player. There’s still a lot of work to be done and things to iron out.”
Coyle revealed earlier in the week that County are searching the length and breadth of the country for new players.
The Staggies team chief said the club was casting its net wide to find new faces to inject more quality into the Dingwall outfit.
Coyle said when he took over that he would avoid ripping a team apart like some new managers, but that if the right player became available and it helped the group he would look at it.
“I wouldn’t bring a player in just for the sake of adding another body. If we think we can add quality to help the group we have, we’ll always do that at the right time,” he said. “We’ll be out watching games this week all over the UK, like a lot of clubs, and if there is anything that can help us we’ll see what happens.”
Coyle disclosed the player hunt was always on as County bid to beat the home jinx this season.
The Staggies tackle Hamilton Accies at Dingwall tomorrow and Coyle added: “If someone on the day beats you by being better and with better quality, you have to hold your hands up. If we can be at our maximum against Hamilton we can do well. What we know is that we’ve a group of conscientious, hard-working players with a good spirit about them.
“It’s just about achieving those fine margins and making sure we come out on the right side of them. There’s a lot involved in that – it takes hard work and repetition, focus and concentration – huge things at the high level we play at. If you switch off for a second you get punished.”
Coyle confessed he was far from happy with a host of decisions against Hearts and felt penalties could have been awarded, but said he realised things were not going to change.
“But that doesn’t take away from the hurt and frustration because we’re passionate about what we do,” he said.
“I spoke to [referee] Willie Collum after the game and I was very calm and respectful because officials are charged with a difficult task. It’s not an easy job.
“The frustration is when you know the players have put an awful lot into the game without reward.
“He’s one of our top referees and he can only call it as he sees it. To be fair to him, he said he would have a look at it.
“My frustration is that with hindsight he’ll probably look back and think there should be have been a couple of penalties awarded to us. For me there were some very obvious incidents that didn’t go Ross County’s way.”