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Steven Ferguson says securing European football would mark best season in Ross County’s history

Ross County chief executive Steven Ferguson.
Ross County chief executive Steven Ferguson.

Ross County chief executive Steven Ferguson says qualifying for Europe would make this season the best in the club’s history.

The Staggies are aiming to bring European football to Dingwall for the first time since they entered the Scottish league in 1994.

A Europa Conference League qualifying place will be achieved if County finish fourth in the Premiership, although their current fifth spot will also be enough if Hearts defeat Hibernian in today’s Scottish Cup semi-final.

County have enjoyed success in previous years, with Jim McIntyre leading them to a League Cup triumph in 2016.

Although Malky Mackay’s men have already defied the odds to make the top-six, Ferguson insists the Staggies have the chance to make the campaign the most memorable of all in the five upcoming games.

He said: “In six weeks’ time we could really define what the season has been for us.

“The turnaround to get us into the top-six is great, but it’s not for the sake of being in the top-six.

“We are one point off fourth place going into the split, which adds layers on to it.

“Whatever happens now we have made the top six, it has been a remarkable season.

“It has been one of the best in the club’s history, because we have only done it twice before.

“When we have the five games we have got, and the league position we have got, along with the points gap and goal difference, it gives us such an enthusiasm to see what the next five games bring.

“I know the way Malky is, and I know the way his staff and players are.

Ross County manager Malky Mackay.

“They will not count their chickens before they have hatched.

“That’s not dismissing what has gone before. The time to reflect on what has gone before is probably after the next five games.

“This time is all about the next five games, and seeing if we can really make this the best season the football club has had in the Scottish league.”

Sustaining success is the Staggies’ goal

While European qualification is the immediate goal for Mackay and his players, Ferguson is already casting an eye towards the long-term.

The top-six spot followed two successive 10th placed finishes, and Ferguson is determined to build on this year’s success.

He added: “Over the last 12 to 18 months, we needed to find a way that the club could be sustainable.

“We recognise this achievement this year, which in my opinion exceeds where I thought we would be at this stage.

“I knew we were moving in the right direction, but I didn’t think we would be in the position we find ourselves in.

Ross County squad celebrate securing a top six spot at full-time at Pittodrie.

“It’s all about being sustainable at this level. The worst thing for us would be to have a season like this, and then fall back into three or four years where we are scrapping and fighting.

“For Ross County, this would always be seen as an exceptional season, but the challenge is to be in a position where we are always looking up instead of looking back.

“Performances and results definitely warrant the 40 points we have got. All round we have done really well.

“We aim to be a staple part of the Premiership in an area that’s competing for the top-six.

“If it’s not competing for top six, it’s definitely looking to be the best of the rest.

“I would think, if we can get to some level of consistency with that, it would be an absolutely fantastic achievement for the football club.”

County’s operations have kept up with on-field success

Ferguson, who stepped into the chief executive role from his position as co-manager nearly two years ago, says the off-field running of the Dingwall club at Premiership level is equally as much a success.

Ross County chief executive Steven Ferguson.

He added: “Operationally, we don’t have a huge staff. Of the clubs in the Premiership, we would definitely have the smallest staff. We are very streamlined in every other department.

“The task for these guys to keep up with the success on the pitch is probably every bit as much if not more of a challenge, and a success for being able to do that.

“It goes without saying that off the pitch is very much dictated to by on the pitch.

“Our product is Premiership football, but we still have to look at a way that both on and off the pitch, we have processes in place that allow us to compete in the Premiership consistently.”

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