ROSS Draper may be a “massive presence” in the Elgin City squad after making a loan transfer from Cove Rangers to Borough Briggs.
That’s the view of City boss Gavin Price after bringing in former Caley Thistle and Ross County midfielder until January.
Draper (32) won the Scottish Cup with Caley Thistle in 2015 and the Championship and Challenge Cup in Ross County before being released by the Dingwall club in May and moving to Cove.
After five games this season, he’s been diagnosed with a bone bruise-related injury, but after receiving injections he will be able to return to play later this month and was fired by Cove to bring him back to full form at Elgin.
Price has revealed the deal to bring in the Englishman nearly fell through, but he was delighted to save him just before the loan signing deadline last night.
Draper is set to make his debut for City in their Ligue 2 fixture against Albion Rovers on October 17, the week after their SPFL Trust Trophy draw and Draper’s former club Caley Thistle.
The Elgin manager is delighted to bring a player with great Scottish League experience to the highest level.
“We played him in games against Ross County and he’s a massive, massive presence on the pitch,” said Price.
“He has so much experience and he can play in a number of positions, whether it’s center or midfield.
“The only criticism from the team is that we maybe haven’t had that physical presence in the middle of the park that can force us into games and he will definitely bring that.
“We’ve known about his situation for a few weeks, but it looked like it wasn’t going to happen – but we succeeded,” he said.
More Elgin Town News: Falkirk striker Jaime Wilson makes a loan transfer to Borough Briggs.
Draper joined Caley Thistle after three seasons at Macclesfield and spent five successful years playing in the Premier League.
He scored two goals against Celtic in his debut season and helped Inverness reach the League Cup final, suffering the agony of a penalty shootout loss to Aberdeen.
He was Premier League player of the month and a star in Caley Jags’ midfielder. In 2015 he was instrumental in the Scottish club’s famous 3-2 Scottish Cup semi-final victory over Celtic, ahead of Falkirk 2- 1 in the final for the club’s biggest trophy. .
After five years at Inverness he joined Ross County in 2017, and in his second season there he won the Championship to bring the County back to the Premiership, while helping them lift the Challenge Cup for the third times.
It was a surprise when Draper was released by County in May, but Cove was quick to recruit him for League One football.
His recent injury means it will be the middle of this month before he is fit to play for Elgin.
“It is understood that he will not be available for the next two games, but after that we hope to upgrade him and he will obviously be a massive presence for us,” added Price.
“He just had an injection and he will probably come back to play after the Inverness game, and he can train with us after next week.
“He will need a week to prepare and we won’t rush him for the Inverness game, it’s too early but I hope he will be available for Albion Rovers in mid-October.”
Draper’s signing is the second loan catch of the week for Elgin, who brought in former Rothes forward Jaime Wilson, who is currently with League One Falkirk yesterday.
“We hope the loans will work, we have tried to gain more experience and I hope this turns out to be the right decision,” Price said.
“We will have to be careful of what will happen in the second half of the season, but it certainly gives us some good options.
“I think it shows the good intentions of the club and helps us give ourselves the best possible chance to climb in the league and fight for the play-offs again.”
In addition to Wilson and Draper, City have also signed loans to bring in Tom Grivosti from Ross County and Nathan Cooney from Dundee United for the first half of this season.