Paton urges Ross County to believe they can bring Celtic's record cup run to an end
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Harry Paton is urging his Ross County team-mates to believe they can create shockwaves in Celtic’s empty backyard.
The Scottish champions’ air of invincibility has been punctured since mid-October’s defeat to arch-rivals Rangers, with only two wins in eight games since.
Despite that, and despite a barrage of recent criticism, Neil Lennon’s team remains in the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple treble of trophies.
Winning on Sunday against County would stretch their historic run of successive domestic cup victories to 36.
On paper, it seems a daunting task for a County side without a win against Premiership opposition since mid-September.
Paton, though, feels like the away day can’t come quickly enough.
“We’ve talked through our shortcomings from last weekend and now the manager is preparing us for the Sunday game,” Paton said.
“All the focus is on that one. We are all looking forward to it – it is Celtic away, one of our biggest games of the season.
“It is going to be tough and it will test us mentally, but we have to go down there with a belief we can make the next round.”
There is always a risk of backlash after an Old Firm team has been hauled over the coals, as Celtic were, after scrambling back from two goals down to draw with Hibs on Saturday.
County, similarly, need to produce a response following a meek display in defeat against 10 men at Kilmarnock.
“Celtic will go full-strength to try to put things right and get back to normal,” Paton acknowledged.
“But we only have to worry about ourselves. We know anything can happen in the cup.
“It is 11 against 11 and, if we can put into play what we have been working on, we can make it difficult for them.
“If we can get a foothold in the game and maybe snatch a goal, it could be interesting, but we will need to wait until Sunday to see.”