Roy MacGregor has hit back at criticism over the way Ross County told some first-team stars they were being released.
The Staggies chairman was not on hand to deliver the news to captain Iain Vigurs, record appearance holder and scorer Michael Gardyne, and eight others that they would not be getting new deals.
Callum Morris, Ross Draper, Billy Mckay, Jason Naismith, Jermaine Hylton, Mohamed Maouche, Carl Tremarco and Tony Andreu were included in that process, while new deals are on the table for Keith Watson, Blair Spittal and Ross Munro.
Most of the group were local and attended Victoria Park Stadium to hear their fate from chief executive officer Steven Ferguson.
Neither MacGregor or new manager Malky Mackay were there.
At least two players, Gardyne and Mckay, were told via Zoom that they were no longer part of the club.
Manager interviews delayed decision day
This method was criticised by skipper Iain Vigurs, who felt the club handled this poorly.
However, MacGregor addressed that, stating this was the only option were some players were not able to attend.
He stressed: “The last 10 days have been difficult, including interviewing managers. That included John Hughes because he was interviewed.
“Managers then have to decide who they are keeping and who they are not keeping. That obviously could not happen until the middle of the week.
“The manager doesn’t know the players and we didn’t have a manager until this week, so Steven Ferguson asked the players to come in on Thursday. But some were not in this area.”
‘Zoom better than a phone call’
He added: “I know there has been criticism about why it was done that way. All the local players came into the club and rather than just phone the ones who were elsewhere he decided to do it by Zoom.
“Zoom is far better than a phone call when you are telling someone they are not coming back.
“All the players let go this week are out of contract. We are not breaking any contracts. Everyone who had a year in their contract has stayed.
“The criticism of the method is a bit over the top because Zoom is far better the calls. Billy Mckay was in Wigan and Michael was in Dundee.
Social media speed would deliver news before club could – MacGregor
“We could not wait for one more day to tell the players who were away because social media beats us to it. If you were to get half the team in one day and do the other half the next day it won’t work.
“The minute someone is outside they are on the phone to their mate. The season is now finished and they don’t come in every day.
“The new manager had to make a decision, along with one or two from the coaches inside the club whether they should be going on another journey.
“It was a really difficult decision, especially given the loyalty we have had from certain players. This was never going to be easy.”
Aiming to fly the flag for the Highlands once again… with Caley Thistle
MacGregor, meanwhile, says the much criticised capture of former Scottish FA performance director and ex-Watford, Cardiff City and Wigan boss can help the club move on from just being annual relegation candidates.
He feels, as a club, County and Caley Thistle have to hit reset and rediscover their identity.
He explained: “We need to get to the next level. Both Highland clubs had a cause and we were not accepted within Scottish football. Both of us would argue today that we’re still not 100 per cent accepted.
“We have done it. We have got to the top. There have been national cups won by us both and Inverness got into Europe.
“We had a cause and when you get success and, we’re now nine out of 10 years in the Premiership, you can lose your cause and focus. I think my own club, to a degree, lost that and maybe Inverness has. We both need to rediscover that and fly the flag for the Highlands.
“We got to a plateau and not moved on but for us to move on we have to do much better than we have done.”