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Steven Ferguson confident Malky Mackay is at Ross County for long-haul

Ross County manager Malky Mackay.
Ross County manager Malky Mackay.

Ross County chief executive Steven Ferguson is relaxed about the prospect of Malky Mackay’s success attracting attention elsewhere.

County have enjoyed an excellent campaign, in which Mackay has led them to a top-six finish to keep them firmly on track for a place in the Europa Conference League qualifiers.

Should the Staggies achieve that feat, it would bring European football to Dingwall for the first time in the club’s 93-year history.

County’s place within the top-half of the Premiership is all the more impressive, given they failed to win any of their opening 10 matches.

The subsequent turnaround marks a highly successful return to the dugout for Mackay, whose arrival at Victoria Park last summer ended a six-year absence from management.

He previously enjoyed successful stints at Watford and Cardiff City, before a short spell at Wigan Athletic preceded a four-year tenure as Scottish FA performance director.

Although he has drastically improved County’s fortunes in his opening 12 months in charge, Ferguson hopes Mackay’s work at Dingwall has just begun.

Ferguson said: “Malky has done a great job. When he came into the football club it was for a process and a project. He understood this was going to be longer than a short-term fix.

“As far as we’re concerned, we are one year into what we thought was a minimum three-year project.

“I’d be pretty confident that Malky has really enjoyed this season, working really hard to turn around the start we had.

“We’re all long enough in the tooth to realise that stocks rise and clubs want to come and take managers that are doing well.

“Certainly that’s no different for us. We speak about our club as being one that can give people that platform.

“I’d be a hypocrite if I kept talking about that platform for players, but not staff.

“We know how it works, but Malky is on a longer-term contract and he’s enjoying working here.”

Mackay’s appointment part of wider plan at Ross County

Ferguson says the plan put in place when Mackay was appointed last summer stretches far beyond the product on the pitch.

He added: “When he came in, one of the discussions the chairman (Roy MacGregor) and I had with Malky was that this was about really transforming more than what was on the pitch.

Malky Mackay greets Roy MacGregor at the full-time whistle at Pittodrie.

“We need to remember the circumstances of the start we had as well.

“If you were to look back at that and put it in chronological order, it would be quite something.

“Every other club has it as well, but, just looking at our own year, it wasn’t for the faint-hearted.

“But what we did do is stick together – the football side, chairman – and my feeling is that Malky feels that and understands it.

“It was time to really look at every process from top to bottom to make sure we could get to be that sustainable Premiership club that’s selling players regularly, competing in the latter stages of cups and looking up rather than down.

“I think Malky would feel he is only one-year into what he sees as a three-year project as well.

“Nothing has changed from us. We’ve a long way to go, but it is part of a wider plan and club strategy that we launched collectively.

“It has been really positive.”

Chief executive shares strong understanding with Mackay

Ferguson, who previously worked as co-manager alongside Stuart Kettlewell, says he has enjoyed a strong working dynamic with Mackay following his arrival in the Highlands.

Ferguson added: “I certainly don’t interfere in anything Malky is doing on the football side and he doesn’t interfere in anything I’m doing off-pitch on this side of the building.

Steven Ferguson.

“But the fact is we talk every day. Probably a strength we have is that understanding of situations that may occur on his side and mine.

“We’ve both experienced it in different ways and at different levels.

“I think he knows how difficult my job is and I certainly know how difficult his job is.

“There is that mutual understanding and we have the common goal of wanting the best for Ross County and the best for the group of players we have, and the off-field staff.

“It is my job to drive that and make sure we get to where we want to be.”

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