Malky Mackay’s first game in charge of Ross County ended in a 5-0 victory at League Two hosts Elgin City.
This was the opening of a new chapter for the Dingwall club ahead of their Premiership kick-off at the end of July.
Ross Callachan, on his Staggies debut, fired the visitors in front early on and added another early in the second half.
Forward Jordan White soon added a third and only some stout defending prevented the Premiership side from adding more before Dominic Samuel, on his debut from the bench, headed home the fourth.
Young Matty Wright slotted home the last of the day at Borough Briggs to give the visitors a further boost.
Elgin dug deep after early County goal
However, despite the scoreline, Elgin were lively in what was both clubs’ first summer run-out.
Before these sides set their sights on respective league progress, the Premier Sports Cup, or League Cup, gets started next weekend, so this was a game where minutes were much needed by both.
FT | ELG 0-5 ROS
A brace from Callachan and goals from White, Samuel and Wright give Malky a win on his first outing as Staggies Boss! pic.twitter.com/swKJyR2k5g
— Ross County FC (@RossCounty) July 3, 2021
Elgin, who are well-placed to push harder than ever for promotion from League Two, had 10 days of self-isolation until Thursday due to Covid cases with the club.
City still had a number of players sidelined with illness, simply not ready for this bounce game in front of home fans only at Borough Briggs.
County have been patiently adding to their squad after the late May cull and a change of manager took place.
Two new signings got their debuts for Staggies
Mackay’s signing of midfielder Callachan from Hamilton, Gillingham striker Samuel and, on Friday night, the season-long loan capture of left-back Jake Vokins from Southampton all look like smart moves.
More new players will be added to Mackay’s pool in the coming week and this afternoon was all about getting the ball rolling in more ways than one.
The new manager’s appointment didn’t sit well with sections of the supporters, but the general feeling seems to be let’s just get on with it and see what the former Cardiff City boss delivers in Dingwall.
Of the new recruits at County, only Callachan made his starting debut, while Elgin gave a first start to defender Creag Little, the former Stenhousemuir defender.
Alex Iacovitti took the left-back berth which Vokins will fill, within a back line including Keith Watson and Coll Donaldson, setting up in a 3-5-2.
Connor Randall stepped back from right midfield when required, although he also switched to the left at times.
TEAM NEWS ⚽
Your City team to face @RossCounty in this afternoons Pre-season Friendly
— Elgin City F.C. (@ElginCityFC) July 3, 2021
Elgin were disappointed to fall behind so meekly after just three minutes as Callachan’s cross from the left caught everyone out and landed in the net, with Jordan White chasing it in.
Peters pressed for Elgin response
The Moray men didn’t drop their heads and almost drew level with a Josh Peters strike from distance which flashed a foot or so past the right post.
Peters again got a glimpse of goal and again was not too far off on 22 minutes as Elgin continued to press.
White came close to doubling County’s lead when he got on the end of a Jordan Tillson delivery, but headed over the top from six yards.
Home keeper Thomas McHale then had to be alert to tip clear a net-bound stooping header from Callachan on 35 minutes.
With the interval fast approaching, Randall shot wide at the far post after a swift attack which was loaded with intent thanks to Shaw and White in the build-up.
County netted their second just into the second half when Iacovitti saw his effort crash off the bar and Callachan was on hand to guide a header home.
White ensured that he got his name on the scoresheet when he buried a header past second half goalkeeper Daniel Hoban on his debut, all from a Spittal cross.
Hoban stemmed the tide with saves from Watson and White as the Staggies looked for a fourth.
Dominic Samuel came on for his debut in a County shirt in place of White amid a number of changes for both teams, with young defender Ben Williamson also pitched in to senior action.
Samuel swoops to head debut goal
With six minutes to go, Samuel, almost on the turf, got down to head home then academy graduate Wright, another of the subs, kept his cool to steer a shot past Hoban a few minutes later.
County will start their Premier Sports Cup charge next Saturday away to League Two side Forfar Athletic.
They are in a section which also includes Dundee, Brora Rangers and Montrose.
Elgin kick off their League Cup campaign next Saturday at home to Championship Arbroath.
In their group, they will also face Dundee United, Kelty Hearts and East Fife.
The last group games for Elgin and Ross County will be on Saturday, July 24.
Seven days later County kick off in the Premiership against double Scottish Cup winners St Johnstone at Victoria Park and Elgin host Stranraer in League Two.