Championship success better than League Cup victory for Ross County striker
BRIAN GRAHAM is adamant this season’s Championship title success topped the sensation of lifting the League Cup with Ross County.
The former Hibs and Dundee United striker sprang from the bench to play a vital part in the closing stages of the famous 2016 success at Hampden Park.
But fresh from Saturday’s open-top bus parade through packed Dingwall streets, Graham insists league triumph felt even better than beating Hibernian.
For that, he credits a special bond and atmosphere in the Dingwall dressing room.
Graham smashed a hat-trick at Ayr to all but clinch promotion to the Premiership and then added a double in the official clincher against Queen of the South.
That netted him the Ladbrokes’ play of the month award yesterday, with the big target man eager to dedicate the award to long-serving County kit lady Susan Wilson.
Graham said: “Winning the League Cup was obviously extra special for the club – the first time they’d done it in a major final.
“This year’s topped it, to be honest.
“It’s a better group of lads. The feel of the place is a lot better this time around. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
“The two managers have been excellent from day one, since I came in.
“They’ve added to it, but the group of boys are really, really close this season.
“Even though we’ve had our little arguments, it has never lingered and we’ve stuck by one another.
“You come off the training pitch and give each other cuddles going to the changing room. It has been like that all season and it has worked for us.
“I’ve been lucky enough in my career to have really good dressing rooms over the years, but this one is definitely right up there.”
Kit lady Susan, Graham revealed, plays a huge part in it all.
Graham said: “I was absolutely gutted last week when wee Susan couldn’t make the celebrations as she was ill.
“She’s a big part of the heart and soul of this place – she’s like everybody’s wee mammy.
“She’s brilliant. Susan looks after absolutely everyone and I think she deserves a wee bit of credit.
“Many moons ago, when I was just a wee boy, Susan was here at the club and my future best man Shaun Fraser was a YTS apprentice at the club.
“Susan looked after him back in the day, just like she has with me.”
Graham netted 14 goals in an injury-disrupted season – five in April – having left Cheltenham Town in the summer.
He is now raring to go for another crack at the Premiership, where he has never finished outside the top six in spells with St Johnstone and Dundee United.
He added: “We were all in yesterday for individual meetings and they made it clear there isn’t going to be wholesale changes.
“We’re going to keep the squad together.
“They believe we’re all good enough to go up and challenge. That was good to hear.
“It might have happened in the past that signings have disrupted the group, but I don’t think the two managers are going to go that way.
“They have a clear mindset on what they want to do and we buy into it.
“I’m definitely looking forward to another crack at the Premiership. I’ve had good success there.
“I’ve always finished in the top six and always chipped in with a few goals. Long may that continue.”