Ross County winger Michael Gardyne says his unfinished business of trying to restore the Staggies’ top-flight status makes him eager to prolong his Victoria Park stay.
Gardyne was the subject of interest from Dundee last month, however an inquiry from former County manager Jim McIntyre was halted when the 33-year-old indicated he was keen to remain in Dingwall.
Gardyne, who is County’s longest-serving player, all-time leading goalscorer and holds the club record for the most appearances, insists the Staggies’ relegation to the Championship last season was a bitter blow for him to take and he is desperate for the opportunity to make amends by leading them back to the Premiership at the first time of asking.
Gardyne said: “The managers said they wanted to keep me, and I’m happy to be here.
“I want to right those wrongs from the past, and getting relegated is the worst feeling in football.
“At the back end of the season it was not nice for anyone, but with me being here for a number of years it hit me hard.
“To get back and be in the position we are in, and have a chance to take Ross County back up would be great, for myself and everyone else involved at the club.”
Despite reaching the veteran stakes, Dundee-born Gardyne insists he has not cast any thoughts towards the possibility of finishing his career with the Staggies.
He added: “I actually haven’t even thought about it at all. With the way it’s going just now, it’s always just a year’s contract. I don’t know if that makes me play better when you’ve not got that security and you’re playing for your future every game.
“I’m not sure if that has got any impact on me, but at the moment I’m just playing and enjoying it. I’m training every day, I don’t have any days off – it’s not as if I’m 33 and only training on a Friday.
“I’m making myself available to play and for the past couple of years I feel like I’ve been playing the best football of my career, so long may it continue.
“Everyone keeps asking me because I’m getting on a bit, but it’s just a number for me.
“I’m doing a lot with the sports scientists just now, as I did with the ones in the past, just making sure I’m looking after myself. I feel great just now.”
County take a three-point lead at the top of the Championship into today’s trip to Dunfermline, and Gardyne insists the race for the title remains wide open.
He added: “It’s three points, so I don’t think it’s breathing space. Inverness’ win at Ayr on Tuesday was a good result for us, but Inverness are only nine points off now.
“There will be four or five teams that think they can possibly win the league, which makes it interesting and exciting for everyone.
“It’s tighter than when we won it a few years ago, and it’s going to make us need to be on our guard even more and making sure we are at our best in every game.”