ROY MacGregor, the Ross County chairman whose Dingwall club is on the brink of qualifying for Europe for the first time, has not exactly been averse to jettisoning managers over the years.

Derek Adams, who led the Staggies to the Championship title and was named PFA Scotland Manager of the Year in 2012, parted company with the Highlanders after leading them to seventh spot in the Premiership in 2014.

Adams’ replacement Jim McIntyre was sacked in 2017 just a year-and-a-half after County had beaten Hibernian in the League Cup final at Hampden and landed what remains the only major trophy in their 93 year history.

So when Malky Mackay went the first 10 league games of the 2021/22 campaign back without recording a single win – a run of form which had left the Global Energy Stadium outfit four points adrift in bottom spot in the top flight table – it was understandable there were murmurings about his future prospects.

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Yet, MacGregor recognised there had been a high turnover of both playing and non-playing staff in the summer, spotted signs of improvement despite the draws and defeats and realised that Mackay needed more time to implement his ideas.

County thrashed fellow strugglers Dundee 5-0 at Dens Park in October and haven’t looked back since; a 1-0 triumph over Aberdeen at Pittodrie a fortnight ago secured a place in the top six for the first time in their existence. 

MacGregor has been rewarded for showing patience with the former Watford, Cardiff City and Wigan Athletic manager, for refusing to make a knee-jerk reaction to a string of bad results, for ignoring the fans and pundits who questioned his appointment and were calling for change.

Mackay is now a contender for the Manager of the Year awards which are presented at the end of every season along with Dick Campbell at Arbroath, Ange Postecoglou at Celtic, Robbie Neilson at Hearts and Giovanni van Bronckhorst at Rangers. And rightly so. He has, thanks in no small part to the steadfastness of his employer, done a tremendous job.

Ron Gordon, the Hibernian owner, would do well to exhibit the same sort of loyalty and perseverance as his County counterpart going forward if he wants to achieve his ambition of becoming a good chairman.

The Peruvian-born businessman, who bought a majority shareholding in the Easter Road club from Sir Tom Farmer back in 2019, is currently looking for the fourth manager of his tenure after axing Shaun Maloney after just 19 games in charge on Tuesday.

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Bringing in Maloney to replace Jack Ross back in December was certainly a gamble. The former Celtic and Scotland midfielder may have been the Belgium assistant for three years and might have gained invaluable coaching experience at a high level during that time. But he had never managed in his own right.

It was, regardless of how much Maloney was able to strengthen in the January transfer window, always going to take him time to adjust to the role and deliver success at one of the biggest clubs in the country. He needed time to make mistakes and learn from them. None was forthcoming.

Gordon stated in a Zoom call with the media on Wednesday – and fair play to the United States-based entrepreneur for making himself available for interview and explaining the reasoning behind his decision – that the Hibs hierarchy had not seen enough evidence of progress. Were you at the game caller?

Paul Hanlon and his team mates were applauded off the park by their supporters after losing the Scottish Cup semi-final 2-1 to Hearts at Hampden last Saturday. They had fought to the final whistle despite being reduced to 10 men in the second-half when Joe Newell was sent off. Only a world-class save from Craig Gordon prevented them from drawing level and forcing extra-time.

It was, regardless of the final outcome, a positive display from a side who were without Kevin Nisbet and Christian Doidge, their two main strikers, due to injury and who lost Martin Boyle, their leading scorer, at the start of the year.  

It was perhaps no surprise that Ruthless Ron took such draconian action. His treatment of Ross was shoddy. The previous incumbent of the Hibs hotseat had reached Scottish Cup and League Cup finals and secured third place in the Premiership, their highest position in 16 years, during his tenure. Yes, results had been poor. But his squad had been ravaged by a Covid-19 outbreak. He was deserving of far greater backing than he received. 

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There will, due to the cutthroat nature of football management in the modern game, be no shortage of excellent candidates putting their names forward for the Easter Road vacancy. Mackay has installed as one of the favourites and would certainly be an excellent choice. He has the experience and gravitas needed to do well.

But Ron Gordon must also think long-term and show a far greater appreciation of the challenges and difficulties the man who occupies the Hibernian dugout is dealing with if he is to get a return on his substantial investment in future.

A phone call to Roy MacGregor at Ross County would maybe not go amiss.