Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson feels the Staggies have shown they mean business in the Irn-Bru Cup after being drawn away to Motherwell colts in the quarter-finals.
County were yesterday drawn to face Stephen Craigan’s side, who became the first colts team to reach the last eight of the competition thanks to their 2-0 victory over Irish side Sligo Rovers on Saturday.
The match will be played on the weekend of November 17/18, with County’s home Championship match against Dunfermline to be rearranged for an alternative date.
The Dingwall side, who have defeated Hearts colts, Raith Rovers and Montrose, have freshened up their side for their matches in the competition so far and although Ferguson hinted that is likely to happen again at Fir Park, he insists County’s displays have shown how seriously they are treating the tournament.
Ferguson said: “We don’t hide from the fact when we entered the competition we wanted to win it.
“We would rather play games than not. We have a big squad of players and it is a great competition for us because it lets us have another competitive game, with silverware at the end of it.
“If Stuart Kettlewell and I want to give players game time or look at certain things like partnerships, it’s an ideal chance because we have a group of players desperate to play.
“We can’t always give them the game time they want, but it is much easier to manage that with another competitive game and another competition we’re trying to win.
“It is down to clubs how they look at it and some of our performances have shown we’re not treating it lightly.”
Ferguson, who was previously County’s academy director, took extra satisfaction from handing debuts to teenagers Ross MacIver, Tom Kelly and James Wallace during Saturday’s 3-1 victory against Montrose.
Ferguson wants to see more youngsters make the breakthrough at Victoria Park, adding: “The three of them and Tony Dingwall have all been at the club since they were eight years of age and come right through our system.
“It is a nice wee pat on the back for the academy staff and recognition for them as well because, at some stage, they will all have worked with these players at some stage in their development.
“It gives our volunteers and our academy staff that carrot to continue the long hours and the travelling up and down the A9 because it seems there’s a chance there to close the loop and get some of those lads into the first team.
“We’ve been gradually getting better for three or four years. When you’re working on a long-term project like getting someone into the first team it is never going to happen in a month or two.
“We’re maybe starting to see little shoots – but that was another small step in the direction we want to go.
“We’re not getting carried away, but it is something that hasn’t happened for a long time at our football club.”