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European qualification could affect Ross County players' decisions over new contracts, admits Staggies boss Malky Mackay


By Andrew Henderson

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Malky Mackay believes qualifying for Europe could encourage players to sign new contracts at Ross County in the off-season.

The Staggies still have several players whose deals are due to expire this summer, and talks have been ongoing for months with those affected.

Some may well be waiting to see what prospects lie in wait for County next season, having gone from battling against relegation to making the top six and challenging for continental football.

Regan Charles-Cook is the most high profile Ross County player out of contract this summer. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Regan Charles-Cook is the most high profile Ross County player out of contract this summer. Picture: Ken Macpherson

Mackay, then, is conscious that if the club do secure a place in European competition for the first time ever next season, it could become the deciding factor for some players still to make up their minds about where their futures lie.

“You never know, if there’s a first round tie at the Camp Nou then who knows – or even a tie against TNS in North Wales,” he reasoned.

“I’ve talked to the players about it, and there’s a target ahead of them. Once we get to that point, we reassess.

“I suppose that’s what they can all do, they can all look at where we finished in the league, what we did this season, and how it went.

“Did we nearly get it? Did we hit the post, or did we get there? And what does that mean for next year, what would it look like?

“I’ve got no issues with the guys that have got another couple of weeks left, and then they’ve got to make a decision.

“That’s life, it’s where we are at. If I saw anything different there, I would intervene.

Steven Ferguson (right) is mostly dealing with contractual matter leaving Malky Mackay (centre) to focus on on-field matters for now. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Steven Ferguson (right) is mostly dealing with contractual matter leaving Malky Mackay (centre) to focus on on-field matters for now. Picture: Ken Macpherson

“In two weeks’ time people will be able to sit down and say ‘this is where we are, and here is where the club has been.’

“We will see how that goes, but there is the possibility of something really different next year.”

With the league set to end next weekend, final decisions will be made soon.

In the meantime, Mackay has left the bulk of negotiations to County’s chief executive, Steven Ferguson, so that he can focus on matters on the pitch for now.

“Steven is talking to various parties,” Mackay said.

“I am in that to an extent, but right now I want to stay out of it and stay focused so I’ve got them where I want them on the pitch.

“I will let Steven deal with the two or three agents, and the two or three players, in terms of what their future might hold. We will deal with the next three games, and then it’s choice time for some of them.”


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