He has revived their fortunes twice. Now Ross County hopes that the third coming Derek Adams as a manager will steer them out of troubled waters.
The 48-year-old is chairman Roy MacGregor’s favorite son back after Malky Mackay’s sacking of Dingwall’s second-bottom Scottish Premiership.
So why did County value Adams from his second spell at Morecambe in their latest hour of need?
‘He’s back on known territory’
The quick answer to why MacGregor returned to Adams is the club’s past success.
It also appears to have become his spiritual home. Indeed, the County chairman revealed to BBC Scotland that “he’ll always have a home here – he’s going back to familiar territory”.
Technically, this will be the fourth time Glasgow-born Adams has joined the County. It was with the Dingwall side – then in Scotland’s fourth tier – where the struggling midfielder established himself as a first-team regular in 1997 after coming through the youth ranks with Aberdeen and Burnley.
And it proved to be the launch pad to spells in the top flight with Motherwell, Aberdeen and Livingston, before Adams returned to the Highland club as player-coach in 2006.
Becoming manager the following year, he led them to promotion to the second tier in his first season – and then to their first ever Scottish Cup final in 2010.
While they lost 3-0 to Dundee United, taking such an unfashionable club to Hampden caught the eye of Hibernian, who appointed Adams as Colin Calderwood’s assistant last November.
During that time, his sometimes fiery behavior led to a shocking 18-match touchline ban and he cut short his spell at Easter Road to return down the A9 to Dingwall after just seven months.
Adams continued where he left off, leading County to the title, promotion to Scotland’s top flight for the first time and was voted manager of the year for the 2011–12 season.
Although a 40-match unbeaten league run ended in the Premier League, they ultimately finished fifth – one point away from European qualification – and a seventh-place finish the next season brought a move to Plymouth Argyle.
‘Great experience’ from England
Although he never made it to League One level, Adams’ time in England was not without its successes.
In his first campaign with Argyle, they reached the League Two play-off final, losing to Wimbledon, but second place the following season secured promotion and they just missed out on the League One promotion play-offs the following year.
He would go out amid the threat of relegation in April 2019, but his magic touch returned as he led Morecambe to a play-off victory over Tranmere Rovers to secure promotion to the third tier for the first time in their history.
Not for the first time, as we already know, he will make a surprise exit from Morecambe, who stayed in League Two by moving to Bradford City.
Getting sacked eight months later with his side sitting 12th did nothing to dent the self-belief Adams has shown consistently throughout his career.
Before being replaced by former Wales and Blackburn Rovers manager Mark Hughes, he stated: “If they get a new manager they won’t get a successful manager like myself in the door. That’s obvious to everyone .”
Within nine days, Adams returned to Morecambe after Stephen Robinson, who replaced him, moved to St Mirren.
He managed to keep Morecambe in the third tier but was unable to repeat the feat of last season as they were relegated back to League Two, where he left them ninth.
Now he thinks he has returned to County a better manager. “I’ll get a lot of experience from England, because it’s not an easy league to manage,” Adams said.
‘Extension’ of the previous Adams spell
Derek Quinn on BBC Radio Lancashire describes Adams’ departure as “a huge blow to the club” because he “did something of a football miracle” given the size of Morecambe’s playing budget in his first spell in charge.
Despite his surprise exit from Bradford and failure to avoid relegation on his return, he appeared to remain popular with fans amid their financial struggles amid a protracted takeover battle.
While Adams has voiced his frustrations, he recently spoke of his desire to get the club as high as the Championship.
However, both he and MacGregor revealed that he wanted to return to County long-term, with the chairman suggesting that the club “had a very successful season under Derek” and that “a mutual understanding and trust” between pair promises better. times.
“As a first division club, he took us to the Scottish Cup final, he went to Hibs to try assistant management, it didn’t suit him, he came back and took us to the Premier League, so I see it as one an extension of what happened nine years ago,” he said.
MacGregor points out that two-thirds of the season, plus a transfer window, gives plenty of time for recovery and former Rangers and Kilmarnock striker Kris Boyd thinks Adams will fancy his chances of doing so.
“He won’t take time to settle,” he told Sky Sports. “He knows the club, he knows the people he works with, he knows the players.”
Boyd suggested County had “caused problems for teams” despite their poor run.
Adams has now arrived promising “to get the players into attacking positions as quickly as possible” and his double act with MacGregor could be about to lift the Highland gloom once more.
‘Fantastic’ or ‘lazy’ appointment – watching fans
Anon: I think this is a good appointment. Morecambe have games in hand to hit the play-offs and Derek has done a great job there. They play good football. Ross County did well to get him back.
Connor: It is clear that there is a great affinity for the club / place with the history of being very successful. However, it appears as a lazy, safe appointment from the club. That being said, the thing to do is get behind the team and push for safety.
David: Fantastic appointment. Derek will make us hard to beat and very tactical. Great appointment for Ross County.
Andy: Why would you appoint the same manager for the third time? He has no relevant Premiership experience. He has been out of the Premiership for years. This is a relegation battle for County, so surely the fans deserve someone who has just had this experience. There is a manager available in Callum Davidson who ticks all the necessary boxes for County.
Chris: I think Derek Adams is the perfect candidate because he knows everything about the club. From the history, club, staff, supporters and players. This is his old stomping ground and he is the kind of manager who has discipline and really pushes the players to get the best out of themselves.
Paul: Adams is a famously confrontational character. It all depends on how the players react to his management style. Personally, I still watch the clip of the time Jamie Hamill flattened him and laugh.