Former Ross County manager Neale Cooper believes Owen Coyle is the ideal fit for the club as he prepares to take the reins at Victoria Park.
County chairman Roy MacGregor has identified Coyle as the man he wants to replace Jim McIntyre, who was sacked on Sunday, and talks are close to being finalised with the former Bolton, Burnley and Blackburn Rovers manager.
The Staggies aim to have Coyle in the dugout in time for Saturday’s Scottish Premiership encounter at Kilmarnock.
An agreement is close between County and Coyle, who will bring his long-time assistant Sandy Stewart with him to Victoria Park in what will be his first job in Scotland in 10 years.
Coyle, who was famed for dining on fish and chips and IRN-BRU every Friday before playing on a Saturday during his career, was brought to Dingwall in December 2000 on loan from Dunfermline by Cooper, who believes Coyle’s willingness to move north highlights County’s standing in Scottish football.
He said: “I never saw this one coming but it’s a really good and imaginative appointment by Roy. Owen is an experienced manager and a man who will feel as if he has a point to prove following a disappointing spell at Blackburn Rovers.
“I signed him for County on loan and he was a wonderful professional back then who has gone on to do really well for himself in the game.
“His appointment shows how attractive a proposition County has become. To attract a man with management experience from the Premier League in England is very impressive.
“Owen has the pedigree and the motivation to do well there and I think it’s a brilliant appointment by the club.”
Coyle will inherit a Staggies squad which Cooper believes is capable of pushing for a top-half place in the Premiership but he reckons the players must take their share of responsibility for recent results, with County losing five of their last six games.
Cooper said: “It is still a bit early in the season. I know results have not been great so far but then again things in football do not surprise me at any level these days.
“Realistically, the expectation for me would be to possibly look to be in the Premiership top six.
“With the likes of Hibs, Rangers, Hearts, Aberdeen and Celtic in the league that is a big ask, though.
“Even the likes of St Johnstone and Motherwell look stronger than they were last year.
“I don’t think Roy has been short in giving Jim the finances to bring in players.
“To lose someone like Liam Boyce was a big loss but there are other quality players there and the players have to stand up as well.
“I have played the game and there is not a lot managers can do when the players cross that line.
“Maybe there’s more that could have come from them.”