Malky Mackay wants to add five more players to his Ross County squad – but insists he’s not going to rush transfers through for the sake of it.
The manager, who replaced John Hughes at the helm at the end of May, has been thwarted in his attempts to strengthen his pool to any great extent due to Covid issues in Dingwall, although he has brought in four so far.
Now, after forfeiting Premier Sports Cup ties against Forfar Athletic and Dundee, Mackay is getting set for his first competitive game in charge in the competition away to Highland League champions Brora Rangers on Wednesday.
Sunday’s call-off against Dundee was the knock-on effect of Covid rampaging through the squad and that’s slowed transfer moves.
Small squad needs to be bolstered by quality additions
The manager explained where the club sit in pursuit of fresh talent.
He said: “Given all that has happened, we’ve still got a wee bit to go in terms of bringing the new players together with the rest of the squad and things like that.
“We have a very small squad. We are still looking to bring in another five players.
“Some of these things are protracted. Sometimes it is nothing more than paperwork, other times it is clubs agreeing things with you, but then having to wait on the domino effect of someone else coming in before that person can leave.
🚨NEW SIGNING ALERT🚨
Welcome to Dingwall Alexander Robertson!
Alexander joins on a season-long loan from English Premier League Champions Manchester City!
— Ross County FC (@RossCounty) July 5, 2021
“We have another four or five weeks to go. Whoever does come in, I’ll be trying my best to make sure they fit in with the culture and ethos I want to bring to the club.
“What I don’t want to do is spend the club’s money hastily and then repent at my leisure.
“I could quite easily bring in five or six players tonight, but they wouldn’t be the correct players and, over time, people would see that. We are then wasting the owner’s money.”
The Staggies gaffer said there’s a lot to consider when you’re weighing up which players to make a bid for,
He added: “I want to bring in people that we properly check out and make sure there is a financial viability to the move – that commercially it is good for the club – but character-wise, the person is the correct person.
“Obviously, he has to have talent, but is he going to adapt? That all takes time and we are competing with other clubs for players as well.
“I want to make sure we bring in people who are going to improve the football club and enhance everything we have going on here.”
Long wait almost over for ‘new’ boss
Almost two months after taking the helm, Mackay gets the chance on Wednesday get his County managerial career off and running against Brora.
County can’t qualify from Group A due to the 3-0 defeats they were handed for having to cancel their ties.
They now want to at least get through their fixtures this week against Brora then Montrose on Saturday before turning their focus on the league start against St Johnstone on July 31.
Mackay admits it’s been a less than ideal period, with only one bounce game at Elgin so far due to Covid.
He added: “We’re now looking forward to Wednesday.
“Obviously for myself coming in as manager, it has been frustrating.
“Any group of players who have done pre-season wants to get their teeth into games.
“Off the back of the Elgin friendly, they were just getting ready to hit the next level up.
Are you ready for another top-flight campaign?
🔵𝙃𝙤𝙢𝙚 & 𝘼𝙬𝙖𝙮🟡
— Ross County FC (@RossCounty) July 16, 2021
“To have missed out on the League Cup has been disappointing.
“Myself and Don Cowie went up to see Brora play Forfar on Saturday afternoon. It will be good to play them on Wednesday night.
“While the League Cup group has gone for us and it is disappointing we couldn’t fulfil two fixtures, these two remaining group games take on massive importance for us.
“They become the forerunners before the league action. Wednesday and Saturday can at least get 90 minutes into all of their legs going into the St Johnstone match the following week.”