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Bonds of trust crucial at Ross County, says Paul Lawson

By Alasdair Fraser

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PAUL Lawson admits he was “surprised” when Iain Vigurs was given the Ross County captaincy.

But the three times Staggies’ trophy winner is convinced the elevated role will bring out the very best in his close friend and former team-mate.

Lawson, these days player-manager of Highland League Formartine United, starred alongside Vigurs in a highly successful Victoria Park side before the pair moved in tandem to Motherwell in 2013.

Along with the likes of Stuart Kettlewell, Richie Brittain, Martin Scott and Michael Gardyne, Lawson and Vigurs were at the core of arguably one of the strongest midfields in County’s history.

Powerful bonds forged through heady achievements such as the 2010 Scottish Cup final run and 2012 First Division title triumph endure to this day, as witnessed in this summer’s staffing revamp.

Kettlewell is now lone manager with Brittain as assistant, while Vigurs, in his second Dingwall spell, has taken the skipper’s armband.

Lawson recognises the strength of the structure, with unshakeable trust and friendship underpinning County’s ambitions.

The 36-year-old, who finished his full-time career at Fir Park in 2015, said: “As a team, we had this unbelievable work ethic and will to win. We’re all still good pals now and I can imagine what those three, Ketts, Richie and Vigs, will bring to their jobs.

“For Vigs, I’m not going to lie, I was shocked at first, although I say that jokingly. I wound him up about it on the group chat, but I was surprised.

“Vigs wasn’t always the type you’d mark down for the captaincy. His ability has never been in question, but his temperament was called into question a few times.

“We’d seen it on the training ground, but it is actually a measure of how much he cares. He just wanted to win and, like me, he’s a sore loser. This level of responsibility will be really good for him in harnessing that drive and experience for the team.

“It’s a great honour. I’m sure Iain feels very proud, especially at a club that means so much to him.”

Lawson joked that he was now waiting by the telephone for a Kettlewell call, given the key roles now occupied by his old cohorts.

He added: “Obviously, I don’t see the boys as much as I’d like now, but the minute you pick up the phone it’s as if you’ve never been away. There was such a close bond and we trained exactly how we played at Ross County, with a ferocity. Everyone was hammer to it every day and that’s where we got our success. Other clubs I know, including Motherwell despite their success, just didn’t have that intensity.

“It is good these people are still around the club. I expect the chairman knows just how important that is. Trust is so important in football management. I’ve got that at Formartine with my brother-in-law Russell Anderson. I can only see County reaping the benefits.”

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