Ferguson encouraged by hunger of new Staggies’ recruits

Joe Chalmers (left) and Blair Spittal.
Joe Chalmers (left) and Blair Spittal.

Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson feels the Staggies’ summer recruits arrive at Dingwall with a point to prove in the Premiership.

County have made just two outfield additions so far, in a show of faith in County’s Championship title winning squad, while goalkeepers Ross Laidlaw and Nathan Baxter will compete for the number one jersey.

Although midfielders Joe Chalmers and Blair Spittal have previous top-flight experience, they have joined the Staggies on the back of playing in the second-tier with Caley Thistle and Partick Thistle respectively.

Ferguson feels the incoming quartet have a strong hunger to reestablish themselves in the Premiership as the Staggies prepare for their step up.

He said: “We have added two outfield players so far. Joe Chalmers and Blair Spittal have played over 100 games, and feel they have something to prove in the Premiership.

“We were probably outweighed by boys who were established in the Premiership, than those who felt they had something to prove and have that hunger and desire to show they can play consistently there.

“Ross Laidlaw is very much the same – he’s a goalkeeper that wants to play games, and Nathan Baxter is exactly the same.

“He could have sat and been Chelsea’s number three and had a wonderful experience, but he wants to be on the pitch and playing. That creates a hunger and drive within the group, which will complement what we believe is a really good group anyway.”

County yesterday travelled to Holland for their six-day pre-season training camp in Doorwerth, with a friendly against Eredivisie side Groningen on Friday followed by Sunday’s fixture against French second-tier outfit Valenciennes.

Having made the same trip last summer, Ferguson felt the camp played a key part in the Staggies’ success, adding: “Stuart Kettlewell and I felt it was a huge benefit coming back here. Spending so much time together is a huge benefit for us.

“It’s very much a working trip, with the two games and the amount of training sessions we are going to try and get in while we are over here. We want to utilise the weather and wonderful facilities.

“It’s great for the group, for the stuff off the pitch as well as on it. That bonding for the new guys happens a lot quicker when you are away like this.”

Staggies chairman Roy MacGregor has been encouraged by the initial uptake of season tickets ahead of County’s step up to the top-flight, and he said: “As much as we are elated at the early results of our season ticket sales, its also important to remind people this will mean less opportunity to purchase individual match tickets in the lead up to matches.

“Our aim is to try and get as many of our own fans through the door as we possibly can. We want our home crowds to be big, to stand up against the Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen fans.”