Ross County have sacked manager Malky Mackay after a nine-game winless run.
He saved County from relegation at the end of last season with a dramatic penalty shoot-out play-off win against Partick Thistle in Dingwall.
But after a meeting between Mackay, chairman Roy MacGregor and CEO Steven Ferguson, the Staggies have parted company with the former defender.
County sit second bottom of the Scottish Premiership table, above only basement club Livingston on goal difference, after two wins from their opening 12 games of the new campaign.
“Malky has brought so much more to the club and the wider staff than just football management,” said MacGregor.
“The board would like to put on record our thanks for his contribution over the last two-and-a-half years and wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career.”
- Is this the correct move by County? Who should come next? Have your say.
Mackay’s last game in charge was a 1-0 defeat against St Johnstone that saw the Perth side – with new manager Craig Levein having taken over – move off the bottom of the table and leapfrog County into 10th.
That defeat meant County have gone eight games without a win in the league – their last joint-longest winless streak was between April and August 2022.
County, who host Kilmarnock after the international break on 25 November, have failed to score in half of their 12 Premiership games this season.
Their last victory was a 1-0 success at Kilmarnock on 2 September that took Mackay’s side up to sixth, but their winless run has left them in the play-off berth, with only two points separating the bottom five.
Mackay’s appointment in Dingwall was his first full-time managerial role since being sacked by Wigan Athletic seven years ago.
The former Celtic centre-back succeeded John Hughes, who replaced Stuart Kettlewell at County in December 2020 and left after keeping the club in the top flight.
The ex-Watford and Cardiff boss ended a four-year stint as Scottish FA performance director in November 2020.
‘Change now gives new man time to shine’ – analysis
BBC Sport Scotland’s Tyrone Smith
The answer to the question of why County have decided a change is required seems straightforward. Recent results simply haven’t been good enough.
They are currently joint bottom of the Premiership. They have gone eight league games without a victory. Their more recent was on 2 September – a 1-0 success at Kilmarnock.
It is also worth noting that County preserved their Premiership status last season by the skin of their teeth, after a play-off penalty shootout win over Partick Thistle. The club hierarchy will be wary of becoming similarly embroiled this term.
So given all of the above, it is perhaps not that surprising they have decided to act now.
They might also have cast a little glance over the Kessock Bridge at their Championship neighbours, Inverness Caledonian Thistle. They recently brought in Duncan Ferguson and their fortunes have been transformed.
County will be hoping something similar can happen to them and there will be no shortage of candidates for what will be viewed as a very attractive job.
Despite their current plight, County are just seven points off fourth, so there is still plenty of time to get things moving in the right direction. And County managers tend to get pretty decent backing from Roy MacGregor.
There will no doubt be a host of names in the frame and don’t be surprised if we see the likes of Scott Brown, Neil Lennon and Callum Davidson linked with the job.
The international break does at least afford the County decision makers a little bit of breathing space to gather their thoughts and plot a way forward.