North of Scotland Cup final is a chance for everyone at Ross County to impress management, insists coach Carl Tremarco
Carl Tremarco insists the North of Scotland Cup final is a chance for all of Ross County's players to impress first team manager Malky Mackay – whether they are usually in the senior squad or the under-18s.
The Staggies have a chance to land some silverware on Sunday when they take on Nairn County at Grant Street Park in Inverness.
It remains to be seen how many first team players will be involved, but the core of the squad will be made up of academy players.
They have already had the chance to learn from established professionals in the earlier rounds, but Tremarco insists there will be no senior and youth split come kick off on Sunday.
In fact, he says they should all have the same goal – to impress management.
"At the end of the day, they're getting judged by the coaching staff on a Friday afternoon, Tremarco said.
"Now they've got another chance to impress. The manager might not see a lot of the boys, but they're going to be there on Sunday and all it takes might be the gaffer seeing and liking one of them. Then they might get a two-year deal, and the rest will be history.
"They will sink or swim, and hopefully because they have played the earlier rounds they will be more comfortable around first team boys and they won't get swallowed up by the occasion.
"The first team boys have to go and impress themselves – even though it's a Sunday against Nairn at Clach Park, if you bang in a hat-trick the gaffer will take notice, and that could make all the difference.
"They are on the same pitch, so they're equals. On Sunday they will be one – it won't be under-18s and first team boys, it will be one Ross County."
Regardless of Sunday's outcome, Tremarco hopes to see the Staggies continue to enter the North of Scotland Cup in years to come because of the benefit it has had on the development of County's under-18s.
"It's been good for the boys to be involved with first team players, and learning from them and seeing how they train and what standards they set," he added.
"I just want them to rub off on the young boys as much as it can, because that's where they all want to be.
"What I have seen is not so much ability-wise, but vocally – they're starting to demand more of each other.
"If your mate gives the ball away, you're actually allowed to have a go at him and say that's not good enough.
"They have seen 25 and 26-year-olds having a go at each other, then laughing and joking in the changing room.
"It's not personal, and the sooner they grasp that the better.
"I see Connall Ewan playing for Elgin and barking orders at grown men in league games.
"It's not installed into everyone, but that's what they are learning from the first team boys by playing in this competition.
"Going forward, I think it will be a great thing for the under-18 boys, and now they have a chance to play in a cup final."
That confidence to be demanding of teammates is something Tremarco will be looking out for at Clachnacuddin this weekend, where he hopes to see County's youngsters get their hands on a trophy.
"It would be huge (to win)," he explained.
"I'm hoping it would be a huge shot in the arm and a big confidence boost going into their bread and butter at under-18s level."