STRIKER Steven Craig turned his back on a move to Iceland to sign a new deal with SPL-bound Ross County this week.
He, along with number one goalkeeper Michael Fraser, agreed fresh one-year contracts with the Dingwall club taking the tally of First Division championship-winning players who have signed up for life in the top-flight to nine - with more in the pipeline. Former Aberdeen hitman Craig (31) had been offered a switch to north Icelandic side AK Akureyi, but the lure of staying in the Highlands was too much to resist.
It means within the past 10 days, County have retained the services of midfielders Stuart Kettlewell and Mark Corcoran, forward Kurtis Byrne and back-up keeper Joe Malin, as well as starlets Alex Cooper, Archie MacPhee and Steven Ross.
Boss Derek Adams is satisfied by how the squad is shaping up by this stage.
He said: "I am delighted by the progress we have made in terms of contracts. Although some players could have been offered more lucrative contracts elsewhere, they have shown by signing contracts here that they want to play their football in the SPL with Ross County.
"Money isn't everything when you are in a job and an environment that you enjoy and I think the players appreciate that. I've always been confident that we could retain as many as we could, so it's been an encouraging start."
He added: "I'm delighted that both Steven and Michael have put pen to paper. The club, as a whole, faces a major challenge with the move from the First Division to the SPL.
"Quite apart from having played a major part in taking Ross County there, both Steven and Michael have already proved that they have what it takes to compete and succeed on the pitch at the very highest level and that experience will undoubtedly be an asset to us."
As we went to press yesterday (Wednesday), Adams was keen to deal in captain Richard Brittain, defenders Scott Boyd, Scott Morrison and Gary Miller and midfielder Paul Lawson.
He added: "Some players are on holiday, which slows down the process, but we're continuing to work on contracts to see who we have signed up for next year. We've also had a lot of players' agents contacting us and we have our eye on a few, but we'll see what happens."
The Victoria Park manager is impressed by the way the famous Highland stadium is looking as it is transformed into an SPL arena for top-flight football in August.
The only downside is that it seems certain that the side won't play any pre-season games at home ahead of the big kick-off.
However, Adams is working on taking the team to away games against strong Scottish Football League opposition.
County are also keen for their supporters to see them in action in the north before their historic first step into Scotland's top tier.
They will, therefore, play Highland League sides Brora Rangers on Wednesday, July 4, then Turriff United on Saturday, July 7 in Dave MacKenzie's testimonial.