HE only had to reflect on a taste of life with Dundee United last season to convince him that Scottish football was the place to be.
A whirlwind trip from Denmark to Dingwall and back again, followed swiftly by a flight to La Manga on the Spanish coastal region of Murcia, only strengthened Thomas Mikkelsen’s conviction.
The big Dane believes his move to Ross County and Scotland’s top-flight will provide the ideal platform to revitalise a career that stalled frustratingly with Danish top-flight club OB Odense.
Mikkelsen made a decent impact with Dundee United while on loan in the second half of last season, netting seven goals in 17 matches and impressing with his mobility and imposing physique.
County sealed his signature on Tuesday at their La Manga training camp, with manager Jim McIntyre lauding the 27-year-old’s build and aerial presence, but also his pace and ability with ball at feet.
Mikkelsen made an instant impression with a debut goal in County’s 5-3 friendly victory over a Murcia select on Tuesday evening – and is promising plenty more of the same once he recovers full fitness.
After spells with six different clubs and three loan spells in the last three years the striker, who netted United’s winning goal in the Challenge Cup final last term, is eager to settle down with a two-year deal agreed at County.
Speaking out in Spain, Mikkelsen, who also had a loan spell with top Swedish side IFK Goteborg, said: “I heard about Ross County’s interest on Thursday last week and I was immediately intrigued.
“Me and the missus flew over to Scotland to see the club and got such a good impression of the place and the people – It was no hard decision. We flew home to Denmark on Sunday and now I’m here in La Manga. It has been a lot of travelling!
“Dundee United were interested in bringing me back, but for whatever reason it didn’t work out.
“I’m just glad I can come here and play in the best league in Scotland. It’s a fantastic club and they have some good values. I’m looking forward to being a part of that.
“I know from being with Dundee United that it is my style of football in Scotland. I love the passion of the game and the way players fight for the team.
“The manager likes to play a certain way, with a nice style and a lot of crosses for the strikers, so I think it will suit me.”
Mikkelsen admits it felt good to get straight on to the scoresheet with a sharp finish in County’s friendly win.
He said: “I hadn’t done anything fitness or football-wise for five days, so it was good to get the goal in my first match. It’s only the start. It can be better from me – in the next couple of weeks I will find my shape.
“I’m just excited to get started. I’ve spoken a lot to the manager and the ambition here is to reach the top six. From what I’ve seen here it is achievable.
“I’m looking forward to a settled spell in football after a lot of loan moves. It’s fantastic for me to be given a fresh start and I’m aiming to grasp the chance with both hands.”
Manager McIntyre was seeking a forward with a powerful physical presence to fill the gap left after Liam Boyce’s £500,000 move to Burton Albion.
He believes Mikkelsen complements existing strikers Craig Curran, Alex Schalk and Greg Morrison perfectly.
He said: “Thomas is a different type of striker from what we currently have – a big 6ft 2ins striker and a powerful boy. We’re delighted to have him.
“He is good at holding the ball up and exceptionally good in the air. He’s quick and he can run in behind defences as well.
“We just watched him a number of times last season and felt he could do a really good job for us.
“Alex and Craig are completely different. We wanted someone with real height and presence. Thomas certainly has that – and he has goals in him.”
Having battled against debilitating symptoms of concussion for 18 months, Curran was declared fully fit towards the end of last season.
But there was huge concern in the County camp after he took a nasty blow to the head in last Saturday’s pre-season friendly away to Elgin City.
However, McIntyre is hopeful the 27-year-old Liverpudlian will return to training next week.
He said: “Craig has come back into pre-season absolutely flying. The bad luck he’s had is incredible. First game back and he gets the head knock.
“But we’re hoping he comes through it okay. The early signs are very encouraging.”
Mikkelsen is County’s fourth summer signing, joining defender Sean Kelly, who left Wimbledon AFC, and young Celtic midfielder Jamie Lindsay, who has signed a year-long loan deal.
Dutch full back Kenny van der Weg, who left the club at the end of last season, has also returned on a one-year deal.
McIntyre is putting another former Celtic youth, John Herron, through his paces on trial in the La Manga training base, but will wait until this weekend before making a decision.
The former Scotland youth and under-21 international midfielder, who was on-loan at Dunfermline last year, has left Blackpool on a free transfer.