IAIN Vigurs faced a huge career decision this summer but is thrilled to have kept Ross County’s highly-formidable midfield four intact.
The classy 24-year-old was the last of 19 existing Staggie players under contract or offered new deals to commit to the club’s historic first crack at the SPL.
Losing the creative talents of Vigurs after the departure of Michael Gardyne to Dundee United would certainly have been a hefty blow to the First Division champions.
But by penning a new one-year deal late last month, Vigurs ensured County enter the top flight campaign with a "lucky charm" midfield unit securely tied up.
Analysis of the last few seasons shows that with a central axis of Richard Brittain, Paul Lawson, Stuart Kettlewell and Vigurs, County have not been beaten since February 27, 2010.
The foursome became a fixture for large parts of last season’s glory run, but were far from automatic choices together in the preceding two campaigns.
As a combo, though, the foursome hold an unbeaten run of 22 games in all competitions stretching back to a 2-1 defeat away to Partick Thistle.
Even that day, it might be noted that the unit was broken when Kettlewell had to be subbed at half-time.
For Vigurs, the big attraction in staying at County was remaining part of a "family" atmosphere while gaining his second tilt at the SPL.
But it seems none are tighter at Victoria Park than the aforementioned midfield unit.
Vigurs said: "Paul Lawson told me about the statistic. I don’t know how, but Paul’s dad came up with that.
"It is amazing to think that with Richie Brittain, Lawson, Ketts and me playing together we haven’t lost a game since February 2010.
"I’ve no idea how many games that is but it is certainly a great record. We’re now just looking forward to taking it into the SPL.
"It’s fantastic to look forward to. The excitement has barely even kicked in yet and I hardly feel I’ve got used to the idea of Ross County in the SPL.
"But there is already a real buzz about the place and when the fixtures come out I think it will go through the roof.
"I’ve had a few looks at the new stadium and it is really coming along now. I just can’t wait to play the first game.
"Season tickets have rocketed I’m told, even on last season’s record levels, so that’s great news for the club."
There was no certainty as County celebrated the title success late last season that Vigurs would remain with them.
Clubs of the calibre of Dundee United, Hibs and Aberdeen, among others, are believed to have taken a very close look at the left-sided operator.
He admits he had offers, but was only going to be tempted to pack up and leave County for a life-changing deal.
Vigurs admitted: "I wasn’t going to rush myself into anything. At the end of the season, I went on holiday straight away.
"I didn’t want to think about football or contracts and just needed to get away from it all.
"And then, when I came back I thought about it a bit more and felt Ross County was the best choice for me.
"I know what the club is all about, the players, the manager. It is a great club to play for, especially with this being the first time ever in the SPL.
"County heading for the SPL was a massive incentive to stay. I want to play at as high a level as I possibly can.
"Maybe another season in the First Division would maybe have felt like stalling, so SPL football was a big factor."
Ultimately, Vigurs weighed up thoughts of moving elsewhere for a few pounds more against what he had going for him in Dingwall.
Stability, a good working environment and the hope of playing every week if he performs well were big plusses at County.
He stressed: "I said to my girlfriend and family from the start that unless it was going to be the kind of contract you can never turn down, I wasn’t going to leave County.
"There was interest and offers to weigh up but I feel like I’ve made the right decision.
"I’ve been up in the Highlands for six or seven years now and know it is a lovely place.
"I love the environment and the people around the club – the backroom staff and everyone at the club. It’s brilliant.
"Everyone is friendly and it is like a big family. I wasn’t going to make any rash decisions and move for the sake of it.
"The gaffer and George really made it clear they still wanted me, so that makes a big difference."