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Malky Mackay praised Ross County for succeeding where other Premiership sides failed by progressing to the last 16 of the Premier Sports Cup.

Three of the seven top-flight clubs who entered the competition at the group stage – Hibernian, St Mirren and St Johnstone – have been eliminated.

But County joined Aberdeen, Livingston and Kilmarnock in making it through to the knockout phase and topped Group C after romping to a 7-0 home win over East Fife, with Owura Edwards and Kazeem Olaigbe scoring twice apiece.

“To score the amount of goals we did and play in the fashion we did in front of our home fans, to make sure we got through to that last 16, I was really delighted,” Mackay told the Staggies website.

“Some clubs haven’t been able to do that but we’re delighted we were able to finish the job.

“I thought from minute one we shifted the ball really quickly and got into some really good positions. I’m delighted with some of our new guys as well.

“To allow no shots on target was quite something. We hunted in packs and played as a real unit.”

Mackay, whose side kick off their Premiership campaign away to Hearts next weekend, admits dealing with the demands of the group stage at this time of the season is a challenge.

“It’s that balance between getting games in all the players, getting minutes into everyone during the League Cup, and actually it being competitive and meaning so much because you’re trying to get to the last 16 of the League Cup in Scotland, which is a huge competition,” he said.

“It leads to Hampden and semi-finals, so there’s an importance attached to this. At the same time, we’ve got an eye on next week with the start of the league season.

“So you’ve got to make sure you balance that with everyone getting games and at the same time try to win the game.”