A crucial week beckons for both Ross County and Caley Thistle as they look for the certainty they need to press ahead with plans for the new season.
It is not yet clear who will be in the dugout at either Dingwall or Inverness next term, with John Hughes still in discussions with Staggies chairman Roy MacGregor and Caley Jags searching for a replacement for John Robertson.
Both sides appear keen to act quickly, which will be important given the hard work will only begin once each managerial position is clarified.
Hughes has been in talks with County with a view to extending his short-term contract, after being brought in to replace Stuart Kettlewell in December with the remit of keeping the Staggies in the Premiership.
Having succeeded in that task, it seems likely Hughes will be given the chance to remain at Victoria Park next season, with an agreement believed to already be in place in the event of the Staggies avoiding the drop.
A week has now been and gone since County clinched safety on the final day of the season at Motherwell, which suggests Hughes and MacGregor are taking the necessary time to ensure they are aligned in their thinking ahead of the new campaign.
County could plausibly face a summer of transition, with the majority of their squad out of contract. Having had the last five months to assess the squad, Hughes is clearly best placed to make those judgments.
The end of the season is always a time to set new goals, and MacGregor will be carefully outlining his vision to Hughes in the hope the Staggies can continue to enjoy top-flight football without more final-day drama.
The situation is different across the Kessock Bridge, where Robertson’s move to a sporting director role has created a vacancy for the head coach role.
With deadline for applicants having passed on Friday, Caley Jags chief executive Scot Gardiner will now press ahead with conducting interviews.
Billy Dodds remains the frontrunner, having temporarily stepped in to assist interim manager Neil McCann – who is not in the running for the job permanently – towards the end of the season.
It would be a first managerial post for former County assistant Dodds should he land the job, however, his appointment would bring a semblance of continuity to a squad of players who have already worked under two different management teams since the turn of the year.
The expectation will undoubtedly be for the new boss to improve on last season’s fifth-placed finish in the Championship, and to earn a crack at the promotion play-off places as a minimum.
Although Robertson’s new role will not be focused on the field, his experience will make him a valuable sounding board for the new head coach as and when desired.
If the incoming boss can lead Caley Jags to the top flight alongside County at the first attempt, the new structure will go down as a resounding success.