Cypriot defender Stelios Demetriou says his quick adjustment to Scottish football made it an easy decision to turn down the offer of a return to his homeland to sign for Ross County.
Demetriou has been with St Mirren for the last 18 months but was not offered a new deal by the Paisley club following their promotion to the Premiership last season.
The 27-year-old, who was born in London but moved to Cyprus at a young age, feels at home in Scotland which made it an easy decision for him to join the Staggies on a one-year deal.
Demetriou said: “I had some other sniffs from clubs interested in me but it wasn’t what I was looking for. I was close to signing back in Cyprus but to be honest I feel really happy in Scotland.
“I feel like I’ve been here all my life. My partner is over now so it feels like home.
“When I saw the Highlands – the most beautiful part of the country – I loved it. Hopefully I can have a good season and stay for longer.
“Football is a short career and it is good to get different experiences, I’ve played in Bulgaria, Sweden and Cyprus too.
“But in Scotland I feel I’ve settled down. I like the style of play and speaking English helps.
“I just feel this is my place, for now – you never know what the future holds.”
Having helped guide Saints to the league title, Demetriou is aiming for another successful Championship campaign with the Dingwall men.
He said: “I know the club’s ambition and the managers’ ambition. It is similar to my ambition.
“I know the league, both sides of it – the first season at St Mirren we struggled and did the great escape to stay in the league and the second we won the title.
“So I know my way around the Championship.”
Demetriou recently earned international recognition, winning his first cap for Cyprus from the bench in a 3-0 defeat to Jordan in May, and he hopes to remain in head coach Ran Ben Shimon’s thinking.
He said: “The manager called me and liked what he’d seen from following our games.
“I got on for five minutes and it wasn’t a great result but for any player it is the highlight of your career to represent your country.
“He hopefully has me in his plans for the next games coming up in the Nations League.
“Hopefully, if I can play well for Ross County and keep my place in the team, more will come. The team is improving but we can still go and beat a team, like Bosnia and then do something silly like lose 3-0 to Jordan.
“It is going to be hard against Norway, Bulgaria and Slovenia, but I would love to be part of it.”