Ross County manager Jim McIntyre believes new signing Ross Draper will need time to get up to speed with the Staggies.
Draper crossed the Highland divide to join County from rivals Caley Thistle for a £100,000 fee last week, with McIntyre playing him from the start in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against Aberdeen at Victoria Park.
The Englishman was substituted after 73 minutes and McIntyre says Draper must build up his fitness.
McIntyre has no doubt Draper will be a key addition after joining on a two-year deal, and he said: “He did all right. Ross has got to get fitness levels up, we can clearly see that.
“The way we want to play, his fitness levels need to be higher and he knows that.
“He’s a player we feel can do really well here and complement the types of midfielders we already have.
“His signing gives us very good options. His physicality has impressed us but Ross probably doesn’t get enough credit for how he can pass the ball as well.
“He’s a major goal threat in the opposition box, and goals is something we want to get more of from the midfield players.
“We managed to get two on the opening day against Dundee which was great, and Ross will certainly provide more.
“He’s got good competition here and it’s important we have those different types of options so we can mix and match things as we can see fit, depending on what opposition we’re up against.”
McIntyre believes his players were still feeling the effects of the 3-2 extra-time defeat against Motherwell in the Betfred Cup on Wednesday when they took on the Dons at the weekend.
The manager is looking forward to a full week of preparation ahead of another match against Well, this time on league duty at Fir Park on Saturday.
He added: “We definitely looked a bit jaded as the game went on and that was down to us having extra-time on Wednesday night.
“That’s not an excuse, we are a fit team. But I do think we were not quite as sharp as what we could have been.
“There are always positives to take from any game but equally there are things we can do much better.”