Ross County manager Malky Mackay is hopeful of adding five new faces ahead of the Staggies’ next Premiership match away to Hibernian on Sunday.
County opened their league campaign with a 0-0 draw at home to St Johnstone on Saturday, with the Dingwall squad noticeably threadbare in numbers.
The Staggies’ selection issues were compounded by a fractured metatarsal suffered by on-loan Southampton left back Jake Vokins, which will rule him out for 10 weeks.
Mackay’s options will be bolstered when Austrian midfielder David Cancola starts training on Monday after quarantining following his move from Slovan Liberec, while young defender Harry Clarke will join on loan from Arsenal.
Mackay is confident of adding further numbers in the coming days, and he said: “We should have three coming in on Monday or Tuesday, and maybe two coming in by the end of the week. We need to get the kids out on loan.
“We had to contend with our starting left back Jake Vokins, in the last minute of training on Friday, who innocuously made a pass and felt something in his foot.
“It has turned out he has a stress fracture in his fifth metatarsal and will be out for 10 weeks now.
“Left back might be the eighth one we bring in now, because that’s an extra area we will have to look at again now.
“Jake had settled in really well in the three games he played. He was absolutely gutted, I spoke to Southampton on Friday and he will be operated on Monday down there.”
Mackay paid particular tribute to Grenada international Regan Charles-Cook and Canadian midfielder Harry Paton, who were both involved in the Concacaf Gold Cup until last week.
He added: “Two of the boys were in the Gold Cup in America three days ago, and Harry Paton was somewhere over the Atlantic 18 hours ago.
“For him to fly up from London to here on the morning and then get on the pitch was testament to him.
“Regan Charles-Cook came in and really did well considering he’s been playing in the Gold Cup for Grenada.”
The Staggies held on for a point against Saints, midfielder Ali McCann spurning the game’s best chance for the visitors when he blasted a 70th minute penalty high over the bar.
County came into their opening league match following a disrupted Premier Sports Cup campaign, which had seen two matches forfeited following a Covid outbreak.
Mackay, taking charge of a Scottish league match for the first time, made two changes from the side which ran out 4-1 winners over Montrose the previous weekend. Vokins was sidelined and Alexander Robertson dropped to the bench, with Charles-Cook and Connor Randall drafted in.
County were showed some encouraging early signs, with newly-appointed skipper Keith Watson and Charles-Cook both off target with headers.
Saints, who were in competitive action for the first time since clinching their memorable cup double in May, threatened for the first time when Reece Devine’s long-range strike was deflected past Ross Laidlaw’s right-hand post.
The game increasingly became a scrappy encounter but the Staggies had the best chance of the first half on 36 minutes when Ross Callachan was played in down the inside right channel, with his drilled low ball across goal carrying too much pace for fellow new addition Dominic Samuel to connect with at the far post.
It was a frustrating watch for both sets of supporters, with the early part of the second half doing little to provide more inspiration.
The Staggies had looked more defensively sound than in previous seasons, with the leaking of goals having been a long-standing issue. One of last term’s issues nearly came back to haunt them on 70 minutes however, as they conceded a cheap penalty when Coll Donaldson tripped Devine as he drove towards the byline.
County survived the let-off however, with McCann blasting high over the bar with a woefully executed spot kick.
The woodwork came to County’s rescue six minutes from time when substitute Liam Craig struck the post from an acute angle, following a ball across goal by Stevie May.
ROSS COUNTY (3-5-2) – Laidlaw 6; Watson 7, Iacovitti 7, Donaldson 6; Randall 6, Spittal 6 (Paton 68), Tillson 6, Callachan 6, Charles-Cook 6; White 6, Samuel 6 (Shaw 65). Subs not used – Munro, Robertson, Wright, Williamson, MacLeman.
ST JOHNSTONE (3-5-2) – Clark 6; Kerr 6, Gordon 6, McCart 7; Rooney 6, Davidson 7, McCann 6, Wotherspoon 6 (Craig 83), Devine 7; Hendry 5 (Kane 76), O’Halloran 6 (May 76). Subs not used – Parish, Muller, Brown, Ballantyne.
Referee – Colin Steven 6
Attendance – 1,998
Man of the match: Alex Iacovitti