Rocco Quinn believes Ross County can push for the top six under Stuart Kettlewell.
County are now under the sole charge of Kettlewell after Steven Ferguson, who had been his co-manager since 2018, moved into the role of CEO.
The club finished 10th on points-per-game in the 2019-20 season, in their first season back in the top tier. Hearts were relegated when the season ended early due to the Covid-19 pandemic and their place has been taken by Dundee United, who are back after a four-year absence.
Quinn played alongside Kettlewell for three years in the County midfield and also played briefly for him, when he was coming back from injury and the current Staggies boss was cutting his teeth as the under-20s coach.
He acknowledges Kettlewell was built for this role and can take County on to great success this season.
Quinn said: “The squad is looking really strong. I think Ketts, Fergie and Richie need to take a lot of credit for that. I think that they can really push on this season and push into that top six.
“I think that would be fantastic for the club and another cup run would be brilliant. I hope this can be a really good season for the boys.
“Ketts and Richie were definitely two – you get managers on the park and that’s what they were like. You could tell they were going to go into coaching or managing.
“When I was still at the club he was looking after the under-20s and I played a couple of games, while I was doing my rehab. I got to deal with Ketts as a manager first-hand and you could see he was destined for a first-team post. It’s great that it happened to be at County.”
The first-team structure at County is dominated by figures who have represented the club with distinction throughout their careers.
Kettlewell was part of the First Division title-winning squad in 2012 before turning to coaching, as was new assistant manager Richard Brittain.
Don Cowie, who took over as first-team coach this summer, started and ended his playing career with the Dingwall club and hails from nearby Strathpeffer.
Iain Vigurs, another of Quinn’s former team-mates, was named club captain this week and Ferguson, a firm favourite at County as a player, has been a coach, assistant manager, head of youth development and co-manager before taking up his current role.
Quinn added: “It’s absolutely massive. Any of the young boys coming through or players that sign, they need to know what it means to play for the club.
“Going back to my time there, we knew what it meant to play for the club and those supporters. It’s so important that those guys are there to instil that.”