Ross McCormack (born 18 August 1986) is a Scottish professional footballer who plays as a striker for Championship club Aston Villa and the Scotland national team.
McCormack started his career with Scottish Premier League club Rangers in 2003, going on loan to League One side Doncaster Rovers in January 2006. At the end of the season he was released by Rangers and joined fellow SPL side Motherwell. In 2008 McCormack joined Championship club Cardiff City upon the expiry of his contract. In 2010, he moved to Championship rivals Leeds United for a fee of around £350,000. McCormack became team captain of Leeds, but moved to Fulham in July 2014 for an undisclosed fee.
He played ten times for Scotland U21s from 2006–2008 scoring three goals and he was also capped once for the Scotland B team. He made his debut for Scotland in 2008 and has been capped 11 times overall, scoring twice, once in a 2–1 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification victory over Iceland and in a 3–1 friendly win against Australia.
Born in Glasgow, McCormack started his career at Rangers joining the club on 4 June 2002. He made his first appearance on 1 May 2004 against future club Motherwell at the age of 17. McCormack scored his first goal for the club in the final match of the 2003–04 season against Dunfermline Athletic at East End Park. In 2005–06, he scored an equalising goal in a 1–1 draw with FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League, in what was his first European appearance for the club.
Despite his memorable goal against FC Porto, McCormack was sent out on loan to League One club Doncaster Rovers in order to gain first team experience. He scored five times for Doncaster, the pick of them coming against Hartlepool United which kept Doncaster's play-off hopes alive.
At the start of season 2006–07, McCormack was told he did not feature in new Rangers manager Paul Le Guen's plans and was released. However, his first season at Motherwell was severely hampered by a virus and numerous other injuries. He returned to fitness the following season and became a fixture in the Motherwell first team, where he found himself better suited to playing in a 4–3–3 formation, receiving the October 2007 Young Player of the Month award. The season also saw an improvement in his goal tally as he scored a total of 11 goals, although he reached this mark on 16 February with a brace against Gretna and suffered a goal drought in the remaining 14 games of the season.
In January 2008, McCormack was linked with a move to Premier League sides Wigan Athletic, even coming as close as having a contract ready to be signed with the club, and Middlesbrough but no deal was agreed and he eventually signed for Championship side Cardiff City on 28 June on a free transfer, although the clubs would later agree on a compensation fee of £120,000. On his arrival, McCormack stated that one of the biggest reasons that persuaded him to sign for the club, alongside the chance to play first-team football and the group of Scottish players on the club's books, was the presence of his idol Robbie Fowler, only for the former England international to leave the club soon after.
His first goal for Cardiff was in a pre-season tournament (Algarve Cup) against Vitória de Guimarães, where he scored twice in a 2–1 win. McCormack made his league debut on the opening day of the season in a 2–1 victory over Southampton and went on to score his first competitive goal for Cardiff in a 1–1 draw against one of his former clubs in Doncaster Rovers the following week. He scored his first brace for Cardiff against Norwich City in a game which finished 2–2, and a penalty in the League Cup game against MK Dons marked out a successful start to his first season with Cardiff with four goals in five games. His scoring run continued and, on 28 October, he scored a 25-yard free kick in a 2–0 win over Blackpool to take his tally to ten league goals for the season, equalling the total of league goals he scored during his time at Motherwell in just three months. On 1 November, after scoring Cardiff's only goal of the game, he was taken off during a 2–1 defeat against Wolverhampton Wanderers after suffering a grade one tear of his hamstring which was expected to rule him out for between three and four weeks.
Directly after the injury McCormack stated that he would be returning ahead of schedule and was targeting a match against Crystal Palace two weeks after the injury as his return game, but two days prior to the game he felt a pull on his hamstring while taking part in training and would not make his return to the first team until 25 November when he converted a penalty, won by loanee Michael Chopra, who re-signed for the club later that season, during a 2–2 draw with Reading. A second penalty in two games saw him score in the South Wales derby against Swansea City as the match ended 2–2 but he suffered a second hamstring tear in two months when he was forced off in the first half of a 2–0 win over Preston North End on 6 December, ruling him out for three weeks. Following his return, he went on to finish the season as the club's top scorer with 23 goals in all competitions and joint second place Championship top scorer. His final goals of the season in a 3–1 win over Burnley were the last goals scored at Ninian Park by a Cardiff player in a competitive match.
On 23 July 2009 it was reported McCormack handed in a transfer request to Cardiff City. This was denied by his agent who claimed that there is a 'gentleman's agreement' in his contract that stipulates that he can speak to any Premier League club who bid for his services. Bids from Hull City and Portsmouth were later rejected and he remained with Cardiff, playing in the opening day 4–0 win over Scunthorpe United. In the following fixture he picked up a hamstring injury which was expected to sideline him for 8 weeks, all but ending any transfer away from the club. He made his return on 4 October 2009, coming on as a substitute in place of Michael Chopra during a 4–0 win over Watford. McCormack made his 50th Cardiff appearance in 3–2 loss to South Wales rivals Swansea City on 7 November 2009, before making his 50th league appearance for the club one month later in a 4–4 draw with Peterborough United on 28 December 2009.
His first competitive appearance of the 2010–11 season came as a substitute in a 1–1 draw during the first league match of the season against Sheffield United. He scored his first goals of the new season in the extra time period in the first round League Cup match against Burton Albion. But with Michael Chopra and Jay Bothroyd ahead of him in the pecking order, McCormack was Cardiff's third choice striker, and when Cardiff signed Craig Bellamy and Andy Keogh it looked like his place in the team was further under threat.
On 24 August 2010, Cardiff agreed a fee with Leeds United over a possible transfer. Three days later, on 27 August, McCormack completed a move to Leeds on a three-year contract for an undisclosed fee. He made his Leeds United debut on 28 August 2010 as a 70th-minute substitute in a 1–0 win over Watford. McCormack made his home debut at Elland Road as a second-half substitute in a 3–1 win over Swansea City, before making his first start for Leeds in a 0–0 draw with Doncaster Rovers.He was replaced in the starting lineup in the next game against Sheffield United by Luciano Becchio.
After missing games with an injury McCormack returned to the Leeds squad when he was named as a substitute against Middlesbrough. However he suffered an ankle injury and was ruled out of a few games for Leeds. After over a month out injured McCormack returned as an unused substitute against Bristol City. He stepped up his comeback even further by scoring a hat-trick for Leeds United's reserves against Hull City. McCormack made an impressive impact as a substitute against Crystal Palace helping Leeds earn a 2–1 win. He made his second start for Leeds against Portsmouth. However, on New Year's Day 2011 McCormack missed several chances in the game against Middlesbrough, including missing a gilt-edged chance to win the game for Leeds in injury time when he put a header wide from 4 yards out. On 30 April 2011, he finally got his first goal for Leeds, putting them ahead against Burnley in a 1–0 win, in addition to this McCormack also received the man of the match award for his performance in that game. He scored his second goal of the season in the following game which was the final game of the season in Leeds' 2–1 win over Queens Park Rangers.
After impressing in his final few games of the previous season and earning a recall to the Scotland squad. During pre-season he failed to score for Leeds, he also missed penalties against his old club Motherwell, and Norwegian club Sandefjord Fotball. McCormack started for Leeds as a lone striker on the opening day of the season as they lost 3–1 to Southampton. He scored his first goal of the season, heading in against Bradford City in the League Cup in what would be a 3–2 win on 9 August. McCormack's second goal of the season and first of the season in the league came against Hull City at Elland Road on 16 August. He scored his 3rd goal of the season against West Ham United on 21 August. McCormack scored his 4th goal of the season against Ipswich Town His 5th and 6th goals of the season came in Leeds' game against Crystal Palace on 10 September to earn Leeds a 3–2 win. McCormack's 7th goal of the season came against Bristol City on 17 September to earn Leeds a late victory. He scored his 8th and 9th goals of the season in a 3–3 draw against Brighton & Hove Albion on 23 September, scoring an injury time equaliser for Leeds. McCormack's brace against Brighton made him the first Leeds United player in over 50 years to score in six consecutive league games.
His impressive form saw him nominated for the Championship Player Of The Month Award for September, However Middlesbrough player Matthew Bates won the award. McCormack scored his 10th goal of the season against Doncaster Rovers on 14 October with an overhead kick. He was linked with a move to Wolves during November, however manager Simon Grayson stated he didn't want to sell McCormack. After a run of games without a goal, McCormack scored his 11th goal of the season with a free-kick against Barnsley on 26 November. After a change in formation he found himself on the bench against Nottingham Forest on 29 November in Leeds' emphatic 4–0 win.
McCormack missed the game against Millwall on 3 December as his fiance Courtney St. John was giving birth to their first child Layton. During December, he was linked with moves to Premier League clubs Blackburn Rovers and Wolverhampton Wanderers. McCormack scored an injury time winner for Leeds on 2 January in their 2–1 win over Burnley. On 21 January 2012, he scored one goal after a goalkeeping error in a 3–1 win over Ipswich Town.
In April, Leeds were in negotiations with McCormack over extending his current deal. He finished the season as the club's top scorer. On 28 April, after he scored 19 goals in all competitions for Leeds during the 2011–12 season won the Yorkshire Evening Post Player Of The Year Award for Leeds United.
McCormack scored his first goal of the season in the first game of the season, scoring a penalty against Shrewsbury Town in the League Cup on 11 August. On 17 August, after a lot of speculation, he signed a new three-year deal with the club. In the first few minutes of the match against his former club Cardiff City, McCormack was tackled by Jordon Mutch and picked up a serious ankle injury as a result of the tackle. He underwent surgery on the damaged ankle to determine the severity, and the injury would rule him out until Christmas.
McCormack returned to first team action earlier than expected, and made his first appearance since the injury on 18 November. He made his first start since returning from injury against local rivals Huddersfield Town to help earn Leeds a 4–2 victory on 1 December.
McCormack scored the winning goal for Leeds in a 2–1 FA Cup victory against Tottenham Hotspur on 27 January. At the club's end-of-season awards for the 2012–13 season, McCormack's strike against Tottenham won the club's Goal Of The Season award.
McCormack scored his 5th league goal of the season on the last day of the season away to Watford. His 90th minute chip ended a disappointing season for McCormack in terms of goalscoring. However, the Scottish international had taken a significantly different role in the previous season. McCormack spent the majority of the season playing out of his usual strike position, often playing out wide, in attacking midfield and even in central midfield. His 12 league assists left him behind only Robbie Brady and Tom Ince in the creativity charts.
McCormack scored in the first game of the season against Brighton & Hove Albion on 3 August to give Leeds a 2–1 victory. On 3 August, Leeds confirmed they had rejected a joint bid from Blackpool for McCormack and fellow player Aidy White. On 17 August he scored his second of the season against Sheffield Wednesday in a 1–1 draw. On 23 August 2013, it was speculated that McCormack was in talks to sign a new contract at Leeds United; ending the uncertainty about the player's future after three separate bids by Middlesbrough in the region of £1.8 million. On 30 August, after Leeds had rejected three bids, McCormack signed a new four-year deal with the club. McCormack became the first Leeds player in nine years to score four times in a league match since Brian Deane in a 6–1 victory over QPR in late 2004, as well as being the first Leeds player to score four in an away league match for Leeds for 87 years, when he scored all four goals in a 4–2 victory over Charlton Athletic on 9 November 2013 which put him to the top of the Championship leading scorers of the 2013–14 season with 11 goals.
On 16 January 2014, McCormack was named Captain of Leeds United replacing former captain, Rodolph Austin who stepped down from the role. In January 2014, Leeds rejected bids for McCormack from West Ham United and then on transfer deadline day from his former club, Cardiff City. With rumours of interest also from Sunderland on deadline day, McCormack released a statement via Sky Sports news that he pledged his future to Leeds and also his support of the then manager Brian McDermott, who was sacked only 30 minutes after McCormack released his statement.
On 1 February 2014, only the day after the alleged sacking of McCormack's mentor Brian McDermott and McCormack pledging his allegiance to the club, McCormack scored a hat-trick in a 5–1 victory against local rivals Huddersfield Town. The hat-trick took his tally to 22 goals for the season. On 1 March, McCormack missed a penalty in a 1–1 draw against Queens Park Rangers when his penalty was saved by Robert Green, McCormack followed this up by scoring a free-kick minutes after his penalty miss.
McCormack finished the 2013/14 season scoring 29 goals in all competitions for Leeds. McCormack was announced in the top 3 Championship players, with Danny Ings and Danny Drinkwater also nominated, McCormack finished runner up to eventual winner Danny Ings on 17 April. McCormack was named in the PFA Championship team of the year for the 2013/14 season on 28 April. He was also named the Ludo Player Of The Year and the LUSC Player Of The Year. McCormack won the Yorkshire Evening Post Player Of The Year award prior to Leeds' match against Derby County on 2 May.
On 3 May, At the club's annual awards ceremony, McCormack won the Fans Player Of The Year award, Players Player Of The Year award and also the Goal Of The Season Award for his strike against Sheffield Wednesday. On 5 June, Leeds owner Massimo Cellino said he had rejected a substantial offer for McCormack from Newcastle United. This was denied by Newcastle United. On 30 June 2014, McCormack was left out of Leeds' 2 week pre-season training camp in Italy. On 2 July, BBC Sport reported that McCormack had handed in a transfer request on 20 June to leave the club. Leeds commented on McCormack's future the following day, reiterating that they wanted the player to remain at the club and that the club 'no longer needs to sell their best players in order to run the club successfully'.
McCormack signed for Fulham on 8 July 2014. He was transferred for an £11,000,000 fee including add-ons and signed a four-year contract. He scored his first goal for Fulham in a 1–0 win at Griffin Park in the League Cup.
McCormack joined Aston Villa on 4 August 2016 for £12m on a four-year deal. Three days later, he was included in Villa's starting lineup for their 2016–17 Championship opening fixture away to Sheffield Wednesday. A single goal scored by Wednesday's Fernando Forestieri in the 86th-minute was enough to settle the match and condemn Roberto Di Matteo's side to their first defeat of the season and their first match back in the Second Division since 1988. His second appearance came during mid-week on 10 August in round one of the League Cup in a 3–1 EFL Cup away exit at the hands of Luton Town. He scored his first goal for Aston Villa in a 1–1 draw with Huddersfield Town on 16 August 2016.
On 21 January 2017, Villa manager Steve Bruce revealed McCormack had been dropped from the first team squad for "continually missing training", adding that "he is nowhere near fit enough to play and be involved".
McCormack made his début for the Scotland U21 in 2006. He scored his first goal for the side on 11 October 2007 against Lithuania and scored again in his next appearance, a 4–0 victory over Slovenia U21s. McCormack has won a total of ten caps for the under-21 side.
He made his début for the senior side on 30 May 2008 when he came on as a substitute during the 3–1 defeat of Czech Republic. His second call-up for the national side came in November 2008 when he was named in the squad to face Argentina but was forced to withdraw due to a hamstring injury. McCormack was called up again in March 2009 for the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Netherlands and Iceland. He started both matches, scoring his first goal for Scotland in a 2–1 win over Iceland on 1 April 2009.
After some impressive late season form for Leeds, McCormack earned a recall to the Scotland squad for Scotland's matches against Wales and the Republic of Ireland; however, Leeds teammate Robert Snodgrass missed out on the squad with a back injury. McCormack started the game for Scotland against Wales, Scotland won the game 3–1.
Scotland manager Craig Levein received several complaints for not including the in-form McCormack in his Scotland squad in their final two European Championship qualifiers. McCormack received a call up to the Scotland squad in August 2012, and scored his second international goal in Scotland's 3–1 win over Australia.
McCormack received a call-up to Gordon Strachan's first Scotland squad for the friendly against Estonia in February 2013 but pulled out of the squad after suffering an illness. On 24 August, after scoring 4 goals in his first 5 games for Leeds during the 2013–14 season, McCormack's form earned him a recall to Gordon Strachan's Scotland squad for World Cup qualifiers against Belgium and Macedonia.
- As of match played 29 May 2016. Scotland score listed first, score column indicates score after each McCormack goal.
|1||1 April 2009||Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland||3||Iceland||1–0||2–1||2010 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|2||15 August 2012||Easter Road, Edinburgh, Scotland||8||Australia||3–1||3–1||Friendly|
On 27 October 2009, McCormack was arrested in Cardiff Bay on a drink-driving charge after crashing his Range Rover into metal railings in the early hours of the morning. Following an appearance at Cardiff Magistrates Court on 9 November, his case was adjourned to a later date. On 23 November, McCormack pleaded guilty to the charge and was banned from driving for 17 months and fined £15,500.
In 2013 McCormack was handed a £200 fine, ordered to pay £883.25 in costs and a £20 victim surcharge at a hearing at Leeds Magistrates’ Court after the then 26-year-old left packaging, cardboard delivery boxes and plastic bags next to bins at some point between Christmas 2012 and 3 January, which was found blowing into nearby hedges and fields.
McCormack's fiancée is model Courtney St John, the couple had their first child 'Layton' during December 2011.
- As of match played 14 January 2017
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|Rangers||2003–04||Scottish Premier League||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||1|
|2004–05||Scottish Premier League||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|2005–06||Scottish Premier League||8||1||1||1||0||0||2||1||11||3|
|Doncaster Rovers (loan)||2005–06||League One||19||5||—||—||—||19||5|
|Motherwell||2006–07||Scottish Premier League||12||2||1||1||2||0||—||15||3|
|2007–08||Scottish Premier League||36||8||3||1||3||2||—||42||11|
- As of match played 29 May 2016
- Leeds United Players' Player of the Year: 2013–14
- Leeds United Fans' Player of the Year: 2013–14
- PFA Championship Team of the Year: 2013–14
- Championship Player of the Month: November 2013
- Leeds United Goal of the Season Award (2): 2012–13 versus Tottenham Hotspur, 2013–14 versus Sheffield Wednesday
- Yorkshire Evening Post Player Of The Year Award (2): 2011–12, 2013–14
- Scottish Premier League Young Player of the Month Award (2): October 2007, November 2007
- Championship Golden Boot: 2013–14
- Fulham Player of the Year: 2014–15, 2015–16
- "McCormack named player of the month". The Football League. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2014.