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Malky Mackay relishing sell-out crowd for Ross County’s showdown with Rangers

Ross County's Victoria Park
Ross County's Victoria Park

Malky Mackay can’t wait to hear Ross County fans raise the roof for the visit of Scottish champions Rangers a week on Sunday.

The Staggies manager is thrilled that the Dingwall club have been granted permission, following talks with Highland Council and the safety advisory group, to allow the full 6,600 fans into Victoria Park Stadium for the Scottish Premiership fixture. 

His views come as the fixture was switched from next Saturday to Sunday after Steven Gerrard’s team tumbled out of the Champions League at the hands of a 4-2 aggregate defeat by Malmo.

Ross County manager Malky Mackay.

That means it will be Thursday football in the Europa League for the champions, which pushed the Dingwall clash back by a day.

Now the Covid restrictions are being lifted, it’s a new dawn for Scottish football fans and Mackay, who came in as the boss in May, is relishing the chance for his new-look team to be backed by Staggies fans in strong numbers.

He said:  “I’m really looking forward to it.

“It’s interesting, I watched part of the Rangers game (against Malmo) and it was bizarre to watch a full stadium.

“I’m not sure how many were there, but the bit I was looking at was rammed, and to see full stadiums back as opposed to a smattering of people – even last Saturday at Easter Road, it was great to see the stands beginning to fill.

“I can’t wait until we have it here, I really can’t. It was nice to have some people in against Montrose, and then even more so against St Johnstone, but it would be nice to get the atmosphere in here.

“I don’t think you’ll find anyone in football – be it journalists, fans, players or managers – that has enjoyed empty stadiums with games going on.

“It really does show you that the fans make such a difference to our game.”

Further arrivals by the end of month

So far, nine new arrivals have joined the club after 15, including loaned-in players, left in the summer.

Although Mackay wanted more signed this week, he concedes it could take until the end of the month when the window closes.

He said: “They will be before the window closes.

“It’s beginning to start down in England even more so because it’s those last few weeks, and that’s sometimes where people pop up that you were told weren’t going to pop up, they start to become available.

“I said last week that I was bringing in five, and we brought those in, but I’m not saying that this week at all. I’m saying we’re going to bring some in between now and the end of the window.”

Training time to work on shape

The latest trio to come in last week were goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer, who is on loan from Charlton, and midfielders Ben Paton and Jack Burroughs, who have agreed loan moves from Blackburn Rovers and Coventry City respectively.

Jack Burroughs, who made his debut against Hibs as a second half substitute.

With the League Cup action this weekend meaning County have no fixture, Mackay said it’s giving him and his coaches extra time to prepare for that Rangers clash following Sunday’s 3-0 league loss at Hibs.

He added: “To get the guys who have just come in the door a week’s training with the boys that isn’t about taking the foot of the gas to do shape-work, to be able to go and actually train well and have them all mingling with each other, that’s going to be good for us this week.

“We’re going to be dealing with that over the next couple of weeks, and I’ll be making sure that they spend certain time together – whether that’s here or at an away day, or in the classroom, whatever it may be – so that once we get the full squad in, they get to know each other really quickly and get to know how each other play.”

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