Dundee: Nick Ross signs after Inverness Caledonian Thistle exit

Dundee manager Paul Hartley and Nick Ross
Hartley had been chasing Ross for some months

Dundee manager Paul Hartley views the signing of Nick Ross after the midfielder left home town club Inverness as "a massive coup".

The 23-year-old, who was out of contract with Caledonian Thistle, has agreed a two-year deal with their Scottish Premiership rivals.

Ross had been starved of first-team starts under manager John Hughes.

But Hartley said: "We faced competition from four or five clubs and we are really excited about him coming here."

Former Scotland Under-21 midfielder Ross, who helped Inverness lift the Scottish Cup for the first time in May, becomes Hartley's eighth summer signing.

"I have been chasing him for probably the last seven or eight months," said the manager.

"We weren't quite sure if we were going to get him because of the success Caley had.

"European football could have been a big pull, but Nick wants a fresh challenge.

"He was really enthusiastic when we spoke to him and that was a big thing - that he wanted to come here and be a first-team regular."

Ross came through the youth ranks with Caley Thistle and made 173 appearances, but he has been used more as a substitute in the season just passed.

Asked what attracted him to the player, Hartley said: "His quality, his age and he fits the team and the criteria for the way we want to play.

"An attacking midfielder is something we've been looking at for a long while.

"We've looked at all the stats from last year and one area where we weren't as much of a threat was the middle of the park. I see Nick fitting the bill there."

Nick Ross (left) in action for Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Ross came through the Inverness youth ranks

Ross said he loved his time at Caledonian Stadium but thought the time was right to move.

"I started there when I was about eight or nine, coming through the youth teams and then having played for the first team for six or seven years, so it was always going to be tough to leave," he said.

"My family is there, my friends are there, but I think it will be good for me to leave my comfort zone. I was probably getting too comfortable up there.

"I did a lot of thinking about what I wanted to do with my career and, having won the Scottish Cup and finished third, I thought maybe it's time to move on.

"I don't know if we would have been able to hit any higher heights than that, so I spoke to the manager here and, after meeting him, I knew straight away I wanted to be here."

Ross believes he has taken a step up in terms of size of club despite Hartley's side finishing in sixth, three places below Inverness.

"It is a big club with a big fan base and there will probably be more expectations here," he said.

"Having got to the top six last season, the fans will be looking for us to push on and I think we can do that.

"The manager has been after me for a few months and I was aware of that. He said I would get a lot of game time here, which I wasn't getting at Inverness.

"It shows he's got a lot of faith in me and I want to repay that."