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Change is necessary for Ross County to win battle against relegation


By Andrew Henderson

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John Hughes has admitted something needs to change at Ross County for the final three matches of the season.

Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness. Ross County(1) v St.Mirren(3). 21.04.21. Dejection from Ross County's Alex Iacovitti and Ross Draper after St.Mirren's Lee Erwin had scored the equaliser.
Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness. Ross County(1) v St.Mirren(3). 21.04.21. Dejection from Ross County's Alex Iacovitti and Ross Draper after St.Mirren's Lee Erwin had scored the equaliser.

A 3–1 defeat to St Mirren on Wednesday night, coupled with Kilmarnock’s win over Dundee United, saw the Staggies slip down into the Premiership’s relegation play-off place.

Possibly the most frustrating thing for Hughes will be how simple the Buddies’ goals were – a common theme for County recently – and he knows that cannot be allowed to continue if they are to stay up.

“In the second half, it’s the same old story – we can’t keep that back door shut,” he said.

“It’s not great goals, they are self-inflicted. We have to be better at the fundamental stuff, but we’ve been saying that all season.

“It might be a wee bit of game knowledge, the dos and don’ts of football, the craftiness. We had that in the first half, but then legs start going and younger ones come on.

“You can coach it all you like, they need to do it on the pitch. We have to defend better, it’s as simple as that.

“In terms of effort and commitment, it’s never in question.

“They are a good, honest, hard-working bunch of boys, but maybe that’s a wee problem. Maybe I need three or four rogues in my team, guys who are streetwise and know how to see the game out.

“I got that in the first half but the older lads make way later in the match, and the substitutes gave us freshness, but we can’t keep that back door shut. That’s going to have to change for the last three games.”

Momentum seems to be going in the wrong direction at a crucial time of the campaign for Ross County, going five matches without a win in all competitions including their Scottish Cup exit at the hands of Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Despite that though, Hughes’ message to the Staggies faithful was a defiant one.

“We have to stand up to the challenge,” Hughes added.

“This is my message to the fans and everyone connected to the club – we’ve not beaten Celtic, Aberdeen, Hibs away, Kilmarnock for no reason.

“We’ve got those results to give ourselves the chance to stay in the Premiership.

“We’ve given ourselves a chance, let’s go and take it.”


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