Roy MacGregor, the Ross County chairman, has confirmed Don Cowie will be the man to lead the club into their 12th Premiership campaign in 13 years.

The interim manager, who stepped into the post after Derek Adams resigned after just 12 games, will be offered the permanent job after County’s resounding 4-0 victory at home to Raith Rovers sealed Premiership safety.

MacGregor, though, revealed Cowie had always been destined to be given the role whether or not top-flight status was secured.

And the longstanding County financier admitted he regretted not making Cowie his first choice after Malky Mackay was sacked in November.

Derek Adams took the job for 12 games before resigning following poor results and a series of controversial statements about standards in Scottish football.

MacGregor now hopes Cowie can avoid a third successive flirtation with relegation after consecutive play-offs appearances.

“Don was told before he got the job that it was his no matter what happened,” the chairman said. “He knew when he took over it didn’t matter where we finished, it would be him.

“But I didn’t want the interruption of speaking to his agent and all that during an important time, so we just left it the way it was.

“I have known him for a long time, since he was nine years old, so to watch his journey, being a local boy, going away to play for Scotland then coming back, it has been fabulous.

“It has been traumatic off the park and, if it has been like that off the park, it will be difficult on it.

“The manager did so well to galvanise things and get the place going again.

“It was difficult for him. I made a mistake because he wanted the job when Malky left but I didn’t think it was fair to put him into that at the time.

“That was a mistake on my part, I got it wrong. So I am delighted for him."  

READ MORE: Ross County ease past Raith Rovers to ensure Premiership survival

Cowie, a calm, methodical figure for County in a difficult campaign, gave the strongest indication he would accept the chairman’s offer after a conversation on the direction they want to take the team and club.

“What was said all along was that the chairman saw me as the person to take this club forward,” the 40-year-old said.

“We were aligned in not thinking that needed to be the focus, because we didn’t need any distractions.

“Our main focus was on keeping this club in the Premiership.

“You have to have a chat and see how things look. The chairman has shown a lot of belief in me, and he has stated that he sees me being the person to take the club forward.

“At any club you need to have a bigger conversation about how that looks going forward, and we’ll have that chat.

“I’ve said all along that I want to be a manager, and I felt I was ready three months ago

“Since then, that belief I have in myself has only strengthened, and this is a club I have a lot of affection for, so I don’t see any issues there.”

Simon Murray’s 22nd 23rd of the campaign, in among goals from Jordan White and Brandon Khela, made sure of safety for the Staggies.

For Raith, the wait for a top-flight return stretches on into a 28th year.

In the end, for all the KIrkcaldy side’s spirit, endeavour and decent play, they couldn’t quite crack a rock-solid County defence or match the strength and standards of the team from the league above.

Rovers had spent a lot of the first leg chasing the ball, giving off an air of uncertainty and inferiority as County dominated long periods of play.

There was a world of difference in Dingwall and they quickly settled into a rhythm of passing and possession.

After all of Raith’s early positivity, though, they were undone in a flash in the 19th minute.

Will Nightingale speared a superb ball across from the right which only just eluded Jordan White, only for Murray to connect with a header at the far post to restore the two-goal aggregate advantage.

Rovers forced an immediate corner and responded positively to the setback with another concerted spell of pressure.

Dick’s header from a corner had to be plucked from under the bar by home keeper Laidlaw.

County lost the previously influential Eli King to injury, replaced by Canada’s Victor Loturi, as the visitors carved two big chances.

First, Dylan Corr was only just unable to force the ball into Laidlaw’s net after a saving challenge by big Ryan Leak.

Then a clever Dylan Easton pass angled into the penalty area sent Lewis Vaughan into the right hand side of the penalty area.

The striker cut a shot low towards the far corner but saw Laidlaw make a brilliant fingertip save down low at full stretch.

The second half was less than two minutes old when County doubled their lead and made it 4-1 on aggregate.

Keeper Kevin Dubrowski had to backtrack frantically to push away a ball that spun off a Raith defender and almost dropped inside the angle of post and bar.

From the corner, whipped across by Dhanda at pace, Jordan White rose unchallenged to smash home a close-range header - his eighth goal of the season.
Raith knew now they had to gamble and went to four up front, only to be filleted by third and fourth goals.

White was the supplier after a break on the left and Murray took one touch before flashing home the killer third goal from an angle  on the far side of the box.

Substitute Brandon Khela thumped home the fourth with five minutes remaining, merely rubbing salt in Raith wounds.

Ian Murray felt his beaten side had been given a sobering measure of how far they still need to improve to achieve their Premiership ambition.

“You have to give credit to Ross County because they punished us,” Murray said.

“They were clinical, their goals were good strikes and they put you to the sword if you allow them to.

“And that’s the bottom end of the Premiership.

“Our guys are in good shape but we’re playing against bigger, stronger, faster athletes and it’s not what you’re used to.

“Despite the scoreline in the end I was pleased with the effort, the attitude and the endeavour of our boys.

“Today shows the levels we have to try to get to because there are areas we need to improve at to be a better team.”