Ross County manager Jim McIntyre has challenged forward Alex Schalk to use his time with the Staggies to earn a move to a bigger club after the Dutchman signed a new contract.
Schalk yesterday ended uncertainty over his future by committing to the Dingwall club for the next 12 months.
been successful since making the move to Scotland last October, netting eight goals in 27 appearances, including the winner in last month’s League Cup final victory against Hibernian.
McIntyre reckons the former Netherlands under-21 international is destined for big things but says staying on at County in the meantime will help him realise his potential.
McIntyre said: “There is no doubt in my mind Alex can play for a big club. I think he can play at a higher level.
“He has a lot of qualities but over the last period of his career he has probably moved around more than would have benefited him.
“I think it was important he stayed here another year and he’s decided to do that.
“Like all good players, there was a bit of interest and we had to make sure we convinced him this was the best place for him to keep on improving and learning.
“He loves it here. He knows he has a management which really believes in him and good players around about him which has helped him bring success.
“We’re delighted he has put pen to paper.”
The news caps a good week for McIntyre, who was earlier this week nominated for the PFA Scotland manager-of-the-year award, having delivered County’s first major silverware and led the club to a top-six finish this season.
McIntyre is keen to build on the Staggies’ success next season and he said: “It is a privilege to be nominated, especially when I see the contenders and also some of the managers who weren’t nominated.
“It does show the progress we’ve made and great credit goes to not just the players but everyone around the club who helped make it a place where people enjoy coming in to their work.
“That can only help produce performances and put players in a happy place, which then results in hopefully having successful seasons like we’ve had. It’s a real reward for everyone around the club.
“We know we won’t win a cup every year. But we will certainly be trying. It is all about striving to be that more consistent team.”