Ross County hope to have a new manager appointed in time for Wednesday’s meeting with Celtic, while Stuart Kettlewell will be offered the chance to return to his former youth academy post.
Kettlewell was relieved of his duties following a 2-0 defeat by Hamilton on Saturday that left the Dingwall side four points adrift at the foot of the Scottish Premiership.
Derek Adams, the Morecambe Town manager, has been linked with a third spell in charge of the Staggies, while Tommy Wright, who left St Johnstone in May, and former Caley Thistle boss John Hughes are also in the frame.
But MacGregor, given County’s increasingly desperate struggles this season, admitted the appointment might initially be short-term in nature with sole focus on survival this season.
MacGregor said: “It’s been an extremely tough one for us, not just on Saturday but for a few weeks.
“Everyone, including Stuart, was aware of the situation.
“We’d hoped he would get a reaction from the players, particularly in the last two games, but that didn’t happen.
“We had two games this week that looked winnable, but we didn’t look like winning either.
“It was affecting Stuart as well.
“He has been offered the opportunity to go back to his academy post, so it is not a case of us putting him out the door.
“He stepped up into the managerial job willingly and is part of the fabric of Ross County. “We’re not ditching him, but this project hasn’t worked. That’s where we are.
“He’s having a think about that. He just wants some time.
“The family have had a new baby recently and all that pressure has been upon the family, so I told him to take two or three weeks off just to go and think about it.
“The club is prepared to look after him.”
MacGregor insists he waited longer than he might have to wield the axe, given Kettlewell’s close relationship.
The chairman stressed: “It was emotional on Saturday, but myself, Steven Ferguson and Stuart all knew the situation.
“It had been talked about.
“On a human level, I’m in a little bit of shock. What we created at the club was a Ross County model, with Ross County people.
“This bit of it didn’t work. Everyone’s in shock with that, but we’ve also got to be real – it wasn’t working.”
Quizzed on the likely timescale was for the new appointment, MacGregor said: “I’ve just started to work on it now, out of respect for Stuart.
“I knew this scenario could arise, but I didn’t do anything about it until 9pm on Saturday night, when I began the process.
“I would think we will move very quickly.
“This is a short-term project, probably. We’re in a situation where we have four and a half months and 20 games remaining.
“We can’t take that as a long-term project. Any (manager) who is seeking a two or three year project would likely look to begin it in the summer.
“This is about trying to remobilise what we’ve got, probably take a few players in and try to get security again in this division – and then start a project.
“I think it will be a short-term appointment with, hopefully, a longer-term view.
“But the short-term is we have to patch-up this situation. We need a character who will lift the dressing room.”
Asked if assistant manager Richie Brittain and first team coach Don Cowie would take charge on Wednesday, MacGregor stressed: “I think something will happen before that (is necessary).
“It is very unusual times and a wee bit more complicated than usual. I have to ensure whoever is coming in is tested. We’re all in bubbles. It is a wee bit more complicated than usual.
“I’m not sure how that will look as we go through this week.
“But we have four games, Wednesday-Saturday for two weeks, with 20 games to go.
“That’s a challenge at the best of times, but at least we have half the season to try to put it right – and we need to do that as quickly as possible.”