Malky Mackay issues SPFL warning as Ross County swap Spain for Edinburgh

Disappointed to be back playing in empty grounds, Ross County manager Malky Mackay has warned that clubs could face even more challenges between now and the end of the season due to the latest covid variants.

Ross Couny Manager Malky Mackay during the 2-1 defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle on Boxing Day (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

“When we come back, right through to the split, there isn’t a free midweek,” he stressed.

“It will test everyone again and then you throw this new strain of Covid into the situation and it’s going to be an interesting time for everyone.

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“We’re probably in even more uncharted territory in terms of the disease and it looks like we’re back into empty stadiums again, which is a blow.”

The crowd cap of 500, will be revisited in mid January but many are fearful that the restrictions will remain in place beyond that.

Having brought forward the winter break in the hope of waiting out the worst limitations, clubs will still have a busy window as they try to rejig their squads to cope with the busy schedule and the likelihood of more covid cases temporarily decimating teams.

“Yeah, we have five of our youngsters out on loan to the Highland League at the moment,” explained Mackay, “That’s the best pathway for them, they shouldn’t be kicking about the team bus and pulling out hampers and stuff. But, we’ll bring them back in.

“There might be one or two of the fringe squad who may feel they want to get their career going and move on so we might look to see if we can strengthen a couple of positions. We will need to.”

The Dingwall side have moved clear of the relegation zone in recent weeks and although they remain just four points clear of fourth, they are also just two points shy of eighth.

Looking to kick on, they had planned to enjoy a warm weather training camp in Spain but after the fixture schedule was shifted and travel hopes scuppered, the Highland outfit will instead relocate to Edinburgh for some light training and team-bonding.

“We’ll give them a few days kicking about Edinburgh,” explained Mackay.

“There will be another ten days after that before our next game so we’ll go back up the road and do our serious work up in Inverness.

“Hopefully, by that time the pitches have thawed and the snow has gone.”

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