Ross County see appointing Willie McStay manager as a coup because they believe the 48-year-old was in the running to be Celtic boss.
County chairman Roy McGregor had talked to Celtic's chief executive about the Glasgow club's former reserve coach.
"Peter Lawwell said to me that, even in the last process when they appointed Neil Lennon, Willie was in the frame and could have easily got the job.
"So it is quite a coup for us to bring him here," McGregor told BBC Scotland.
"This was the man we really wanted. We were not sure if we could get him, but we persuaded him to come here.
"His loyalty to Celtic has been undoubtedly the factor that has kept him there for so long."
He obviously joins us in an exciting week, with a cup final as his first match in charge
Ross County chairman Roy MacGregor
McStay, the brother of former Celtic and Scotland midfielder Paul, was himself with the Glasgow club for eight years as a player from 1979.
He moved to Huddersfield Town and went on to play for Notts County, Hartlepool United and Kilmarnock.
Hamilton-born McStay's introduction to coaching came during a two-year spell as player-manager of Sligo Rovers, leading the Irish club to a league and cup treble.
He left to become Celtic's youth coach in 1994 and was head coach of their reserve team until July 2009.
McStay spent less than a year as head coach of Ujpest, with whom Celtic were developing a working relationship, and returned to the Scottish Premier League club in April before departing once more two months later after Neil Lennon took over as manager.
Now he succeeds Derek Adams, who left to become assistant boss at Hibernian, at a club sitting third bottom in Division One.
Former St Mirren manager Gus MacPherson was also among five candidates interviewed, while caretaker boss Craig Brewster, the former Dundee United and Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager, had also announced that he wished to be considered.
MacGregor, who said there was "huge interest" in the post, said: "From the candidates we interviewed, we feel Willie's experience and approach best suits the club and what we are working to achieve here.
"He obviously joins us in an exciting week, with a cup final as his first match in charge, but his clear priority in coming weeks will be progress and consistency in our First Division campaign."
Sunday's ALBA Challenge Cup final against Queen of the South appeared to be under threat because of the planned strike by Scotland's category one referees.
However, the Scottish Football Association says it has found foreign referees to officiate 11 of the weekend's 20 planned fixtures.
McStay hoped to capitalise on the positivity from the McDiarmid Park appearance and said he had been impressed by the ambition and infrastructure at the Dingwall club.
"There is a good foundation that has been left by Derek Adams," he said.
McStay suggested that he had remained at Celtic so long as it had become "a labour of love developing the young players".
However, walking across the pitch in front of 30,000 fans as his Ujpest side faced Steau Bucharest in the Europa League had convinced him that his future was in management.
"I was given the opportunity to be a manager again out in Hungary and that gave me the real desire to be on my own again," he said.
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