By Terry Phillips
Former Cardiff City midfielder Don Cowie has done his bit for NHS workers in Scotland after challenging his Ross County teammates to a keepie-uppie competition.
County co-manager Steven Ferguson and sporting director Scott Boyd posted videos of their own skills – and Cowie took up the challenge.
He posted his own video and then tweeted: “I now challenge all my team-mates.
“For every player who posts a video, I will personally donate £50.
“That will go to the NHS workers who are doing an unbelievable job on the front-line trying to fight this coronavirus.”
Ross County players responded in style – and Cowie paid up a healthy sum which went directly to the NHS charities.
Former Bluebird Cowie, 37, had a frustrating time over 2019-20. He was ruled out for nine months and had surgery on a knee.
He made a new year return in the first team against Celtic and then faced Rangers.
Cowie, who combines his playing duties with coaching County’s under-18 team, is enjoying playing for home town club Ross, who he supported as a schoolboy.
Ross County player Don Cowie is fundraising to help the NHS & Logan would like to add to this. He is offering Staggies the chance to win a signed football ⚽️ for £1 a square you can have the chance to win. Good luck! @RossCounty @RCFC_SLO @billymckay22 @Joshuamullin7 @Midge_10 pic.twitter.com/GyTd0LquSN
— Jeanette Taylor (@jeanettester) March 28, 2020
His father and three brothers all played for County and he met his wife, Shelley at their Victoria Park stadium. Shelley is a former Scotland women’s international who played for Glasgow City FC.
“It’s all I know – the reason I’m a footballer,” Cowie told BBC Scotland. “It’s special up here – we’re unique.”
He helped Ross back to the Scottish Premiership for 2019-20, playing in the 4-0 win against Queen of the South to clinch promotion.
All-action Cowie made almost 100 appearances for Cardiff City during three seasons in South Wales and played a key role when the Bluebirds lifted the Championship title and earned promotion to the Premier League in 2013.
Cowie signed for the Bluebirds in July, 2011, made his debut at West Ham and scored his first goals for City in a 5-3 League Cup win against Huddersfield.
He made his 400th career appearance in a 1–0 win League Cup win against Crystal Palace when Cardiff clinched a first-ever final appearance in the competition.
City faced Liverpool at Wembley and were beaten 3-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw after extra time. Cowie played the whole game and scored Cardiff’s second penalty.
The tenacious Cowie left South Wales after turning down a new contract offered by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and joined Cardiff’s Championship rivals Wigan.
The Scottish international had started his playing career with Ross and went on to play for Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Watford, Cardiff City, Wigan and Hearts before heading home.
Wigan’s German manager Uwe Rossler was key to Cowie’s decision and the player said: “The manager’s influence on me signing was big. I met him in Germany and quickly knew he was the right man for me to work with.
“His vision of how to play football is exciting and suits me perfectly as a player.
“I love to be on the ball, I like to get forward and score goals, but I’m also willing to put a shift in for the team.”
Rossler was delighted with his new player, saying: “Don played more than 20 games for Cardiff in the Premier League (2013-14).
“He’s an extremely professional person. From his training regime to the way he lives and breathes football and has the attributes to allow him to play football until his late 30s.
“Don knows the position, has the ability to play a high-pressing game and an attacking forward game. He will add experience, reliability, a technical ability and I look forward to working with him.”
Cowie was educated at Dingwall Academy and clearly remembers watching Ross County play from the ‘one little stand’ when he was growing up.
He progressed through the youth ranks and spent the first seven years of his career with his beloved County. He returned to Victoria Park, competing at Scottish Premiership level and working on his coaching aspirations.
Cowie made 10 appearances for Scotland during his career, making his debut in a 2-0 win against Japan. His second senior cap was earned against Wales at Cardiff City Stadium.
Cowie rates winning the 2006 Scottish Challenge Cup with Ross, beating Clyde after a penalty shootout in the final, and helping his schoolboy favourites to promotion in 2018-19 among the special memories from his career.
They are alongside Cowie playing a key role for the Bluebirds in their Championship title win and promotion in 2013.
“I was Ross captain when we won the Challenge Cup,” said Cowie. “It wasn’t pretty, but who cares? You win it.
“You can’t underestimate how important it is to win medals and trophies because when you finish your career, you don’t want to be left there with nothing.
“Once you get a taste of it – that euphoria of winning something – and you see what it means to fans, you just want more.”
He talks about Ross with pride, saying: “Once you’re up here you realise how special it is.
”We are unique. There are people at the football club who were working here when I was a little boy.”
Ross County look certain to stay in the Scottish top flight next season whether or not the SPL season is completed. They are six points ahead of bottom club Hearts and how Cowie would love to be playing in the top tier again for home town club Ross.