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Steven Ferguson says David Cancola transfer opens up further overseas recruitment options for Ross County

David Cancola.
David Cancola.

Ross County chief executive Steven Ferguson says the addition of Austrian midfielder David Cancola could open the door for more foreign imports at Dingwall.

The Staggies last month landed Cancola, who joined from Czech side Slovan Liberec after impressing on trial in January.

The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union complicated the transfer, which had initially been agreed in January, with clubs now required to obtain a sport specific sponsor licence before they can sign players from abroad.

County were able to facilitate Cancola’s transfer after succeeding in getting the licence, which will help them in any future overseas transfers they pursue.

Although Ferguson insists the Staggies will not be rushing to sign foreign players en masse, he says it could expand manager Malky Mackay’s network for bolstering his squad.

Malky Mackay

Ferguson said: “It was a hell of an exercise to get the sponsor’s licence through.

“We have now got that, which makes the small pool we normally fish in that little bit bigger. It gives us the option to take somebody from Europe if that’s what we are wanting to do.

“I’m not saying there’s going to be an influx of foreign players – that’s definitely not going to be the case.

“You still need to get an individual Visa for each player, but the fact the club is invested in the sponsor’s licence gives us an option if that’s what we want to do.”

Cancola was handed his first start for County in Sunday’s 4-2 loss to Rangers, after making his debut as a substitute in the 3-0 defeat to Hibernian two weeks previously.

Ferguson paid tribute to the club staff whose work eventually paved the way for Cancola to join the Staggies, and he added: “There was a whole process we had to go through. It involved immigration, the home office and all the stuff you need to go through to bring people to the country.

David Cancola in action against Rangers.

“That was a challenge, and especially during Covid. It wasn’t like everything was normal.

“There is obviously a points system for European players coming in, and it’s heavily loaded towards international players that have played 75% of their national team’s games.

“David hadn’t done that. He had played at youth level and in the top flight in Austria and Czech Republic, but we then had to go through a panel with the SFA to see if they would endorse what we were trying to do.

“That was another body of work we had to put together to make that happen.

“Fiona MacBean, the club secretary, was fantastic in that process as well as Christine Cochrane and the legal people at Global.

“They put some hours in and they got us over the line. It was a proper body of work, it wasn’t as if it was just a form.

“There were stages every time, and before you could move on to the next bit you had to complete the first bit.”

Steven Ferguson.

Ferguson says Cancola’s determination to join County was among the biggest factors in ensuring the deal went through, adding: “We started the process in January. We worked extremely hard and never gave up on it, but neither did David which really sums up his character.

“He had to do an English language test, he had to get his passport taken away and get all the papers that he needed to do at his end.

“It was really encouraging how he conducted himself through the whole thing. It’s a good story for our club, with David being so keen to be here.

“He had options to sign elsewhere but we had stated we wanted him in January. He kept his word as well as us keeping our word, so it was a good all-round result in the end.

“To finally see him with a Ross County scarf above his head was pleasing for everybody.”

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