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Malky Mackay will always put character over quality when looking for Ross County targets in the transfer market

By Alasdair Fraser

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Malky Mackay insists he will never be blinded by quality over character as he seeks to strengthen Ross County’s squad.

The Staggies manager, fresh from recruiting Coventry City defender Declan Drysdale on loan, is seeking “at least another three” new faces in the January transfer window.

A determination not to undermine the strength of the new club and dressing room culture at County has already influenced decision-making on potential targets.

“It’s important that we do as much homework as we can to make sure we get the right one coming in,” Mackay said.

“Anybody who comes in has to join in and embrace the group culture, simple as that. That’s what we look at going forward.

“We want talent, obviously, but there are talented ones I’ve looked at and had wavering conversations on about their character, so they don’t come in.

Mackay (second left), celebrating a pre-Christmas victory in Perth, has placed great stock in squad spirit and character. Picture: Graeme Hart
Mackay (second left), celebrating a pre-Christmas victory in Perth, has placed great stock in squad spirit and character. Picture: Graeme Hart

“Listen, some managers take risks on that, some don’t. The bigger risk is blowing up the culture in the dressing room – and I’m not having that.

“Nobody gets to do that. With the guys we’re bringing in, we’re hoping that we’ve done enough good background work on them that when you do get to know them for a few weeks, you think ‘yep – that’s another good one for us’.

“I’ve already got that good feeling about Declan Drysdale.”

Drysdale (22) teams up with fellow Sky Blues loanee Jack Burroughs in Dingwall after previous stints at Solihull, Gillingham and Cambridge United, where he won promotion to League One last season.

“We certainly needed another defensive-minded player in the building,” Mackay stressed, having lost Arsenal’s Harry Clarke to Hibs. “He is a young player who is on the fringe of the first team, but importantly has been out a couple of times on loan against men in England. That’s a big thing.

“When it looked as though it could happen, all parties were up for it. He got up here and he has trained with us for a couple of days. I’m delighted. He’s articulate, bright, he has trained well and he’s keen.

“We talk about the culture of the place, and he’s another good one to bring into the building to enhance what we’ve got here, and are starting to flourish with.”

County have recalled defender Tom Grivosti from Elgin City, along with Brora loanees Matthew Wright and Adam Mackinnon, ahead of decision them for the rest of the season.

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