NEW County boss Owen Coyle is seeing the benefits of having his first full week as Ross County manager.
He arrived in Dingwall just two days before the Kilmarnock game and the Staggies delivered for him, coming out 2-0 winners.
Despite the international break this week, Coyle and the squad have been at the stadium preparing for next week’s home game against Hearts.
Former Bolton, Blackburn Rovers and Burnley manager Coyle has used it as an exercise to get to know the players better ahead of his first home match in charge.
“The players have worked really hard. It was a terrific performance on Saturday and we just have to strive to keep improving,” he said.
“When you get to work with them on a daily basis you get to understand the qualities and the attributes they have. We’ve had a really good working week.
“Saturday was important – we’d lost six of our last seven and had the worst goal difference in the league. That gives us the catalyst to move forward. We’ve not won at home all season and the only way we do that is by training well and performing well, and that’s what we look to do.”
The Staggies have two chances to improve their home record this month, with Hearts and Hamilton Accies visiting Dingwall in back-to-back weekends.
“The only focus is the Hearts game and we won’t be looking any further than that,” said Coyle. “If we’re at our very best we’re capable of winning the game.”
Coyle had a full squad at training yesterday, with Tony Dingwall, who is coming back from a cruciate ligament injury, taking part.
Coyle was thrilled to get off to a winning start against Kilmarnock thanks to goals from Craig Curran and Kenny van der Weg – but insists there is a long way to go.
Coyle hailed his players for digging deep and impressing at Killie.
He said: “They’re a good group. They have that work ethic and everything that goes with it. The age I’m at and having been at different places, I’m not one of those managers who comes into a club and tries to say ‘this was wrong and that was wrong’ and throw everyone there before under a bus.
“That’s not my style – far from it. Over the years, before and since I was a player, there’s been an awful lot of good work done at Ross County by an awful lot of good people. What I want to do is continue that good work.
“But there was no getting away from the fact that with where we were we had to start winning quickly. Otherwise the league can be unforgiving if you don’t get out of that situation.
“That said, it is only one game. What we have to do now is move into the next couple of home games and be at our best. I always felt from my time at Ross County for three months and when I visited as an opposition player, that it was always a tough place to come.
“That’s what we need to get back to because we’ve not won at home this year yet. We need to try, with the fans and the stadium, to turn this back into a fortress, so teams know coming here they’re going to have to be at their very best to get something from the game.
“There’s a lot to be done and we’ve never been afraid of hard work. The players have already shown they have that.”
Coyle also says he’s going to give the current squad of players their chance to impress him first before bringing in free agents.
He said: “It was always my plan, If there are players available who would improve and help the squad, we will look at it.
“If they’re not there we don’t take them. I’m not a manager who stockpiles players.
“With the international break I’ve not brought anybody in, because I also want to be very fair to the group here and give them that chance.
“I said over the next month or six weeks we would look at it and give those players the opportunity. I think that’s fair. I’ve said to the players it will be a fair fight.
“If a wonderful player we all concede would help the group is available, then of course I would try to do something before January.
“But if not it isn’t something that will faze us one way or the other. The important thing is getting to know the group we have. If we can add little bits and pieces great, but if not we might look to add in January.”