Roy MacGregor says Ross County’s failure to kick on from last season’s dramatic Premiership play-off survival led to the departure of manager Malky Mackay.
The Staggies confirmed this morning that Mackay had been dismissed, following a meeting with chairman MacGregor and chief executive Steven Ferguson.
It followed Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to St Johnstone, which was a ninth successive match without a victory and left the Dingwall club second bottom in the Premiership.
Mackay’s entire backroom staff remains in place at Victoria Park, with Don Cowie taking temporary charge of County’s preparations ahead of their next match at home to Kilmarnock on November 25.
In the wake of County’s thrilling play-off comeback triumph against Partick Thistle in June, MacGregor spoke of his hope that the Staggies could kick on this season.
‘Time for a change’
Despite a promising start to the campaign, MacGregor says the lack of momentum in recent weeks prompted him to take the difficult decision.
MacGregor said: “As a person, and with what he did for the club, it was really difficult.
“This is a peculiar industry where results are king. In the last year, I think we have only had seven wins as well as some draws, if you go on a results basis.
“We got a bit of a shock at the end of last year. I felt that we maybe would have come out a bit better this year.
“We find ourselves after 12 games, in not too much of a different position.
“We just felt we weren’t getting the best out of what we have got.
“The hard decisions in football are about results, and it was time for a change. It was pretty simple.
“We added more money to the budget, but probably didn’t get a benefit for doing that.
“From having seen the games, it has been patchy. I don’t think we have found either our best form, or been the best technically – although I don’t know as I’m not a football technician.
“It just hasn’t happened. When it doesn’t happen, you get challenged in how you deal with risk.
“The risk of us not being in this league is too big nowadays. It’s as simple as that.”
‘Unseen work’ was done by Mackay during County reign
Mackay was appointed County boss in 2021, following his four-year stint as Scottish FA performance director.
He had previously managed in English football with Watford, Cardiff City and Wigan Athletic.
MacGregor credits the 51-year-old with driving much-needed strategic change at the club, but felt a lack of results on the field were becoming an increasing concern.
He added: “With a lot of the stuff, we got huge benefits from his governance and his thought-process on football.
“He did a lot for the club that was unseen. It’s just a pity that the stuff that is seen is the league table in particular.
“We are just a bit disappointed we haven’t moved on further after trying to get out of a dire situation last year.
“We got out of jail, and haven’t really moved on.”
Cowie in interim charge as Staggies plot next move
MacGregor’s attention will now turn to appointing Mackay’s successor, with the international break affording County time to plot their next move.
The Staggies chairman insists staying out of the relegation zone will be the primary remit for the new manager.
MacGregor added: “Our objective is to get into the middle of the league. We have got to be realistic.
“The city clubs have got a lot more money these days with their European adventures.
“You would expect them to be in the top half of the league, and the community clubs in the bottom half.
“We need to compete with the community clubs. I suppose success is 10th, and anything after that is a bonus.”
Mackay said his farewells to County’s players and staff at Victoria Park on Wednesday morning.
MacGregor says Mackay’s departure is a reminder of the cut-throat nature of football.
He added: “He went in this morning and said goodbye to his staff and his players.
“He’s a good guy, and it’s one of the hardest things as a chairman. In these times you lose a friend, and his family.
“Because of the nature of Ross County being community based, the relationships inside the club with the staff are not stand-offish.
“When these things happen there is a lot of soul-searching, and a lot of travail everywhere.
“Ultimately, I’ve got to protect everyone at the club – all the 90 staff.
“If we weren’t in this league, I don’t know what would happen. It’s just a horrible business where you are judged by results sadly.”