Ross County chairman Roy MacGregor has paid tribute to a number of players who were yesterday freed by the Premiership club.
Captain Iain Vigurs and record appearance holder and scorer Michael Gardyne headed a list of 10 first-team players released just 24 hours after Malky Mackay was named as the new manager.
Vigurs spoke to the Press and Journal last night about the poor manner in which their releases were dealt with.
Neither MacGregor or Mackay were there and some players, Gardyne included, were told the decision by chief executive officer Steven Ferguson via Zoom.
Callum Morris, Ross Draper, Billy Mckay, Jason Naismith, Jermaine Hylton, Mohamed Maouche, Carl Tremarco and Tony Andreu are also leaving, while deals are on the table for Keith Watson, Blair Spittal and Ross Munro.
Chief hails Vigurs’ and Gardyne’s contribution
MacGregor, meanwhile, has released the following statement: “During our end of season show, I spoke about the importance of people and how big a role people play in success.
“Today I want to highlight some of the people departing us that have made our journey as successful, enjoyable and memorable as it has been over more than a decade.
“Firstly, Michael Gardyne and Iain Vigurs. If we look at our watershed moment in 2010, when we reached the Scottish Cup final, both of those players contributed massively to what was both a cause and a moment of history for Ross County and the Highlands.
“Equally, they would both play pivotal roles in our promotion to the Premiership for the first time in our history in 2012 and then in regaining our Premiership status in 2019.
“Michael would also be part of the team that brought the Scottish League Cup success in 2016, a day that will never be forgotten.”
‘Strong character, passion and strength’
He added: “Within both Michael and Iain there is strong character, passion and strength – attributes that are so important within a person, and attributes that for over 15 years Ross County has had at its luxury through both of these players.”
“When we look at Ross County, whether it be today, next year or in 10 years’ time, Michael and Iain will still be at the forefront of our minds for the memories they have created for us on the field – Michael as our record appearance holder and goal scorer, Iain, as a club captain and his 239 appearances. Both of them have so much to be proud of from their time here in Dingwall.”
“I am sure that every fan will echo me in simply relaying two words to both Iain and Michael, ‘thank you’.”
Other freed Staggies are thanked
The Staggies chief was keen to recognise the other players, many of who helped keep the club in the Premiership with a 10th-place finish.
He said: “I would finally like to pay tribute to Callum Morris, Billy Mckay, Ross Draper, Jason Naismith, Jermaine Hylton, Carl Tremarco, Tony Andreu and Mohamed Maouche.
“Jason has had two spells here whilst Callum, Billy and Ross were integral parts of regaining our Premiership status in 2019 which was vital for our club.
“Everybody mentioned has contributed to our club on our journey, and we wish them all every success in their next chapter.”
While questions remain over the future of assistant manager Richard Brittain and first-team coach Don Cowie, it is expected that there will be clarity on both their positions in the coming days.