“IT'S about what Ross County is, what does it stand for, what does it represent and what does it represent for its fans.” The words of County chairman Roy McGregor on Wednesday, a day before confirming the appointment of Malky Mackay as manager of his club.

It is a laudable proclamation, and a bold one when you are about to unveil a man who has been exposed as sending messages of a homophobic, racist and sexist nature as the figurehead and leader of your team.

“That was something that was seven eight years ago now, well documented a variety of times,” said Mackay yesterday at his first press conference as County boss, words that may have held more sway coming from a teenage offender rather than a now 49-year-old man.

“Nothing to hide there in terms of the whole aspect of it and the interviews I went through for the next three, four years,” he continued, as if it was he who was being put out having to answer such questions.

Everybody, of course, deserves a second chance. And as Mackay himself pointed out, he has actually since had a few, working for Wigan before his stint as the Performance Director of the SFA, and then more recently even doing work for UEFA and FIFA.

How long must he answer for these ‘misdemeanours’, some may ask? Isn’t there a double standard at play here when we have a convicted criminal in David Martindale as manager of Livingston? Let’s not forget, there were many in the media – myself included – who put forward his case as a 'fit and proper person'.

Martindale has been allowed the opportunity to continue his rehabilitation without interference from the game’s governing bodies, having paid his debt to society and shown contrition for his past actions. Would it not be hypocritical to deny Mackay the same chance at redemption?

Well, there are clear differences between the cases. The biggest one being that Mackay has never actually appeared to be that sorry at all. In fact, his initial response to the allegations in a League Managers’ Association statement at the time seemed to be lifted from page one of the ‘Politician’s Guide to Non-Apologies.’

"If Malky has caused any offence by these two isolated matters he would wish to sincerely apologise," it read.

"These were two text messages sent in private at a time Malky felt under great pressure and when he was letting off steam to a friend during some friendly text message banter." Try telling the County fans who are up in arms about his appointment that it was just ‘banter’.

For in fact, the biggest problem that Mackay and McGregor will come up against as they try to sell this partnership won’t come from those they may see as self-righteous journalists or social media ‘snowflakes’, but those who love the club.

A football manager is not an ordinary job. As McGregor knows, it is a position that should be held by someone who reflects the values of your club. And the County fans clearly feel that Mackay does not.

“We’re strongly AGAINST the reported appointment of Malky Mackay,” tweeted the account of fan website Staggies View.

“He should be nowhere near the game with the views he holds towards other human beings and we’ll protest against this appointment in any way we can.

“You’re not welcome here.”

One contributor, Ramsay Banks, expanded on the point, saying: “I love Ross County Football Club with everything that I am. I mean it. This club means everything to me.

“I won’t be able to do anything associated with my beloved Staggies if he’s manager.

“The kind of hatred Mackay brings is heartbreaking, infuriating and unacceptable.”

If the wider body of the Kirk feels the same way, then what chance does Mackay have? McGregor may be banking on a manager who hasn’t led a club for six years now hitting the ground running, and that fans will soon forgive his past conduct if he is getting results on the park. But I think that underestimates the depth of feeling involved here.

In the end, appointing such a deeply divisive figure to a position that's very success depends on players, a club and a community rallying behind him seems utterly illogical and doomed to failure.

"We understand that there are some frustrations and questions being asked,” said former co-manager and current chief executive of the club, Steven Ferguson.

"We know of Malky's past but I keep having to emphasise that we're very much a progressive club so we want to be looking forward rather than where we've been or where other people have been.

"I would ask the fans to be patient and trust us that we have a vision for the club and Malky's skillset, experience, contacts and networks all fit into what we need to move forward."

Like it or not though, Mackay has to show that he understands the depth of hurt his past comments have caused - not try to explain them away as ‘banter’ - before asking anyone else to forgive and forget.