Regan Charles-Cook insists Ross County are confident of competing against Rangers as Staggies make trip to Ibrox for penultimate round of Scottish Premiership fixtures
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Regan Charles-Cook says Ross County will be making the journey to Ibrox intending to compete with the European finalists.
Matches between the two teams have produced plenty of goals so far this season – 18 across their three clashes to date – so the Staggies know going in that they are capable of hurting Rangers.
So Charles-Cook, still the league's top scorer with two games to go, is looking to prove that once again when the sides meet in Glasgow tonight.
“We have known all season that we can compete with any team in the league with the squad we have," he insisted.
“They’re Rangers and it’s Ibrox, but we feel like we can go toe-to-toe with anyone in this league.
“We’ve built momentum since the start of New Year and although Motherwell is a little bit of a setback we can’t dwell on it.
“We’ve got two big games in four days and we’ll go to Rangers with chest out and heads held high, and look to do the club proud.
“Recently, we haven't scored as much but we’ve scored seven against Rangers this season and that’s down to all the work the staff have done on their weaknesses and strengths.
“We’ll go about it the same way we have the whole year round in terms of planning and prep. We’ll be ready.”
Despite being on the brink of seeing the Scottish Premiership slip out of reach, Rangers could still have a silverware-laden campaign with a Scottish Cup final and the Europa League final still to play.
The latter of those in particular has caught the eye – not just domestically but overseas – with it being 14 years since a Scottish side reached a European final.
The Ibrox crowd will undoubtedly be in a celebratory mood tonight, creating a big atmosphere for County's players to deal with, but while Charles-Cook is well aware of the magnitude of what Rangers have achieved he believes that pitting the Staggies' talents against them in such an environment may actually bring out the best in the Dingwall outfit.
“It shows how far Scottish football has come," he said of Rangers' continental exploits.
“A lot of people have written off Scottish football but next season potentially there will be two Champions League sides in Scotland.
“That’s a big advertisement for Scottish football. With what they’ve done, if we can go toe-to-toe with them and come away with something it shows how far we have come as well.
“People would have looked at us at the start of the season as ‘little Ross County’, but we’re not so little right now so we just have to focus on producing our best against Rangers.
“We do love a noisy game as a team and as a club, but we don’t think Rangers will be different in any way from their usual selves.
"They are going to go into the game focused on trying to get three points and try to finish the season with as many points as they can, no matter if they have two cup finals coming up. We just have to do our job. That’s all we can focus on – tunnel vision.”
Although Charles-Cook leads the Premiership's scoring charts with 13 goals, he has not found the back of the net since late-February.
Generally speaking, the goals have dried up a touch for what had been a free-flowing County side. The last time they scored more than one goal in a match was also the last time Charles-Cook was able to bring out his trademark celebration – the 3–1 win against St Johnstone in Dingwall back in February.
The Grenada international is not overly concerned about his dry patch, though, saying the needs of the team are more important than his individual achievements.
“We haven’t really scored as many goals lately, me included," Charles-Cook admitted.
“I’m not letting it affect me – it happens now and then in football.
“I’ll put in a shift anyway, offensively and defensively, and as long as we get those three points, that’s all I care about.
“As the gaffer said in training, we run for each other, we’re family. Sometimes you have to sacrifice your own game for the good of the team. That’s what a lot of us have done and that’s the way we are, so I wouldn’t take it back for anything.
“The mark of a good team is to keep getting points when you’re maybe not quite at your best. Even if we don’t score, we fight – every last block and tackle. It has been a real joy to be part of.”