Published: 03/05/2014 10:35 - Updated: 03/05/2014 10:44

County star Melvin is clear: 'We know what we need to do - win'

Written byAlasdair Fraser

Melvin De Leeuw: Knows the score
Melvin De Leeuw: Knows the score

MELVIN De Leeuw can draw on depths of experience in the fraught Premiership relegation fight — having escaped the drop in Holland twice in a single season.

The classy Dutchman was part of the RBC Roosendaal team that narrowly secured safety in the Netherlands’ Eerste Divisie, only to be docked points for entering administration.

That plunged the troubled second tier club back into the dogfight at the foot of the table for the final league game of season 2010/11, which they won.

For De Leeuw, Ross County’s top scorer this season with eight goals, it is a memory that offers fortification as his current team strive to succeed in the paper-thin margins of the bottom six.

The 26-year-old is not alone in the County camp in having successfully endured such a scenario in the past.

Scots trio Richie Brittain, Scott Boyd and Stuart Kettlewell were all part of the Staggies’ side who escaped the First Division trapdoor the very season De Leeuw’s old club were in peril.

The Dutchman said: “At my first club before I moved to SC Cambuur, we were hit by a three-point deduction just before the last game.

“The club had hit financial problems and all of a sudden we were back in danger.

“Before that we were safe, then we were back second bottom so we needed to re-adjust mentally and go through it all again.

“We needed to win to be safe — and we did.

“It took a lot of spirit and character for the players to switch on again for that final game and make sure they dug the club out of the hole.

“Sadly, the club still went bankrupt in the summer which was a great shame.

“But for us as players, and for the fans, it was good that we won the game — a great memory for me.

“It is something I can draw on in the current situation Ross County are in.

“When you have been through it before, it strengthens you and you take it with you as a player.

“But every game and every experience helps you in football. Last year, I was part of a championship-winning team at Cambuur.

“The good thing is that other players here have been through those experiences and I think, as a group, we are strong-minded and experienced.

“We have a lot of confidence going down there to St Mirren on Saturday, looking for the win. We are going for seventh place and if we are seventh on the last day then we are safe.”

De Leeuw makes no bones about it. County are heading to Paisley on Saturday intent on recording a third win of the season over St Mirren.

The two home wins and one away defeat against the Buddies will be irrelevant in the pressure-pot atmosphere.

What will count is cool heads in a straight scrap between Saints, one of the current form teams in the bottom six and County, the highest points scorer in the lower half since the turn of the year.

De Leeuw stressed: “Three points, at this stage, is massive — and that’s the only thing we can go for.

“It’s going to be a very big game for both teams. For every team, there is no room for error.

“If you can win, the rewards are great.

“It is exciting for the fans and also for the players. We know what we need to do — win. There is nothing else, so it is easy!”

The attacker is impressed by the way the squad, as a whole, are handling the intense demands of the final sequence of matches.

He said: “We did very well on Saturday in the victory against Kilmarnock. Everything you want from a team in this situation was there.

“The first few minutes were nervy for both teams. You have that always in those games.

“But after that we pressed them the whole game which was pleasing.

“It is a little different in these matches. I felt normal before the game but you do sense the difference in the game after it kicks off.

“The team which is the first to settle and feel their way into the game is the one who can go on and win.

“We got forward and scored the first goal. That’s so important. You draw confidence and you give the other team a smash.”

De Leeuw is content with his goals tally so far, but hungry for more.

He added: “I want to score more and that’s also important for the team. Others want to do the same.

“Filip Kiss and Richie Brittain are doing well on that front.

“I apologised to the fans on Twitter after the Killie game. I felt I had a decent game but not my best. There was a lot of work defensively and I was more in midfield than up front.

“It wasn’t frustrating because we won. It is needed. If that is needed for the team, it is okay and I will do that.

“But I prefer to get myself into more forward positions, support Jordan Slew, and influence the game there.”

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