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Don Cowie says Ross County’s retained players have led by example during Italy training camp

Ross County assistant Don Cowie.
Ross County assistant Don Cowie.

Don Cowie says Ross County’s arrivals will be left in no doubt what is expected of them thanks to the standards set by the Staggies’ retained players.

County have been proactive in their summer recruitment drive, with seven new faces already in place.

Ben Purrington was the latest addition, with the former Charlton Athletic left back signing a two-year deal on Wednesday.

Malky Mackay remains keen to further add to his squad ahead of the Staggies’ first competitive game away to Buckie Thistle in the Premier Sports Cup next Saturday.

It has been another summer of transition at Victoria Park, however Mackay’s task was made easier by the retention of 13 senior players from last season’s squad.

Assistant boss Cowie says the existing squad is leading by example during County’s pre-season training camp in Verona.

Don Cowie alongside Malky Mackay with their hands covering their mouths.
Don Cowie (left) alongside Malky Mackay.

Cowie said: “The players that have been retained from last year have set a culture, so this week enables new players to get used to those standards we look for.

“We have no doubt that new players will settle in. We have to give the credit to the existing players from last season, and the players who were here the season prior to that.

“They laid the foundations for the new players coming in last summer, and they’re doing the exact same again this summer.

“We signed players last year who did very well for us, they got the headlines and got a lot of credit.

“But we have got a core group of players at this club that resemble everything the manager, myself and the rest of the staff want.

“That will just carry on. We have managed to retain them, a lot of them have signed new deals, and that’s because we realise how important they are.

“They give us that base to add players to it. They make them feel welcome and they make them understand early what we expect, the standard we set on a daily basis.

“We will continue to do that and try to improve.”

No distractions during six-day camp in Italy

County will train for the final time during their six-day camp today, before returning home to Scotland on Saturday.

Cowie feels the trip has been beneficial on numerous levels, adding: “It’s good because there are no distractions. When we are out here our full focus is just on football.

Ross County players during a training session.
Ross County players during a training session.

“The players are training, having lunch and dinner together and socialising. It’s not like being back home, when they go back to their own families and go their separate ways.

“For new players it’s a great environment to get people to know each other really quickly.

“The fact we have managed to do quite a business so far has enabled those players to come out here and see what we are all about.

“They see how we work, what we expect and what we have created from last year.

“The main focus is still on fitness. We are only into our second week, so it’s not so much specific to how we play as a team or our style.

“That will start to come over the next few weeks, but right now it’s about building on the fitness they had from the end of last year.

“We will then get it to a level where we can start fine-tuning things going into the League Cup games.”

County in better place than 12 months ago

The Staggies brought 12 players in last summer, however seven of those arrived after the league campaign was already underway.

Cowie insists the Dingwall outfit are firmly ahead of schedule this time around.

Ross County assistant Don Cowie.
Ross County assistant Don Cowie.

He added: “We have got to take a lot of confidence from the way last season went.

“This time last year was challenging because it was a new manager that had come in, a lot of players had left and a lot of players came in.

“That takes time, but we are ahead of the schedule from where we were this time last year. That can only benefit us.

“It’s also a credit to the club, and where we are now, that we are in that place in terms of the recruitment side.

“We have identified players we want to come in, and to get them in as early as we have means we can be ready come the first league game.”

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