Ross County new boy Regan Charles-Cook insists the long road from London to Dingwall will have been worthwhile if Scottish football helps his career motor like ex team mate Joe Aribo.
The midfielder was pals with the Rangers star at Charlton and Hearts midfielder Sean Clare at Gilingham and sounded out both over a move to Scotland after his contract expired with the Gills.
Aribo has gone on to become an international with Nigeria since making the switch to Ibrox.
And while Charles-Cook is focused on driving the Staggies into the top half of the Premiership, he admits he does have aspirations to play in the top league in England one day.
The 23-year-old, who came through the Arsenal Academy a few years after Glen Kamara, said: “I know a couple of players who have gone to Scotland in the past and really done well.
“I played with Sean Clare at Gillingham and Joe Aribo at Charlton.
“I have seen what they are doing for their careers.
“I spoke to these guys and asked them what it was like. They said it was different, it’s physical but it’s a great league to play against the top teams, it’s a top league that will improve you.
“It’s a different audience as well. People are usually scared to come up to Scotland, but everything they said was really positive.
“I want to go to the highest level possible and that might mean bouncing back into English football or taking Ross County as far as possible in the top half of the Premiership.
“That’s the main goal just now to get us into the top six then I’ll see where that might take me after – hopefully it might be back to England and the Premier League, who knows?
“I speak to Sean sometimes and he was the one who told me about Scottish football and Ross County. He said they try to play football and are a very good side.
“He told me it was far! But he was giving me the pros about the club and the Scottish league and the thing is that it has a lot of exposure as well.
“I’m looking forward to playing at big stadiums like Celtic Park and Ibrox and against teams like Aberdeen.”
Charles-Cook, who scored six goals in 52 appearances for Gillingham in the past two years, admits he had never set foot in Scotland before sealing his switch to the SPFL’s most northerly club.
But the Londoner has taken little time to settle after signing a two-year deal.
“The first time I heard there was interest, I researched it and saw it was 10 hours,” he said.
“I thought this must be the wrong place!
“The furthest I have ever lived from home is about an hour, but when I looked at it on the map it was right at the top.
“I went to go and see a mate in Newcastle, I think that’s the furthest north I have been.
“Everyone has been telling me I’ve chosen the furthest away place I could possibly go.
“That doesn’t faze me though. I think unfamiliarity is good for you, stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something different.
“It’s time for me to get away, and my family has always been supportive of me. I speak to them every day.”
Lockdown saw football stopped across the board in the UK between March and June but for Charles-Cook he had no problem working on his touch back at the family home in Aberdeen.
He’s got two brothers who are professionals too.
“Reice is a goalkeeper at Macclesfield and Anthony is a winger at Welling,” he said.
“I was brought up in a football household so even in the lockdown we were all training together.
“We push each other on. When I told my brothers about this move to Ross County they were like ‘yeah, go and play in the Scottish Prem and the world’s your oyster’.
“They were really supportive and said it was time for me to push on. They think it’s a big move.”