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Bedding in period proved to be frustrating for Ross County midfielder

By Andrew Henderson

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Stephen Kelly says it was frustrating not to play more in the opening months of the season at Ross County.

Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness. Pre-season friendly. Livingston(2) v Ross County(2). 25.07.20. Ross County's Stephen Kelly.
Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness. Pre-season friendly. Livingston(2) v Ross County(2). 25.07.20. Ross County's Stephen Kelly.

The Rangers midfielder moved to Dingwall on loan in June, but had to be very patient for his opportunity in the side.

The 20-year-old made seven appearances from the substitute’s bench before his first start against Dundee United at the end of October, but he has started both matches since against Livingston in the league, and Elgin City in the Betfred Cup.

Although the youngster is yet to make his first senior start for Rangers, he is used to playing 90 minutes most weeks after a successful loan spell at Ayr United last season.

So it was a challenge to adapt to his early role at County, but he believes his hard work is finally being rewarded with a run in the starting 11.

“I came up in the summer and I was a bit frustrated not to play,” he admitted.

“Obviously everybody is when they are not playing every week.

“I kept working hard in training, and it has been good to get a chance in the last couple of games.

“I started a lot of games last year. Coming up a level into the Premiership, I was hoping to get a lot more experience.

“I have been training well ever since I came up, so I was just waiting on the chance.

“It obviously took a bit longer than I would have hoped, but I was happy to get in and play and I think I have adapted well in the games I have played.”

Kelly has linked up well in the middle of the park with midfielders of a similar age.

Harry Paton and Charlie Lakin are also in their early 20s, with the more experienced club captain Iain Vigurs having to settle for a place on the bench in recent weeks.

Without having a more established guiding voice next to him on the pitch, it is a different challenge, but Kelly says everyone in the side has to take responsibility for their roles regardless of their age.

“Once we are out on the pitch, it’s just up the players to make the most of it whether you are young or experienced,” the Scotland Under-21 international reasoned.

“We all need to do a job for the team, but it is different without more experienced players beside us.”

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