Scottish Cup exit must fuel Ross County in fight for Premiership survival
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John Hughes believes Ross County must use their Scottish Cup exit to Highland rivals Caley Thistle as motivation in their fight for survival.
The Staggies broke the deadlock through Billy Mckay last Friday night, but they were barely able to register the lead before Caley Thistle levelled.
From there, County struggled to muster any threat on Mark Ridgers’ goal, but with five crucial matches left in the season to secure their Premiership status, they cannot afford to dwell on the disappointment for long.
“It’s not so much that we’ve got a soft side, if you’ve got a job to do for the team do it – don’t let your teammates down,” Hughes insisted.
“There’s no point in going in and pointing fingers. We’re all in it together, it’s a team thing, and I still think we’ve got enough character in that dressing room to go and get the results that we need to stay in the league.
“It’s going to be difficult, but we need to stick together, and that’s what I said to them, they need to show character.
“You can’t feel sorry for yourself, you have to use the disappointment as your fuel.”
That said, there was certainly frustration on Hughes’ part at seeing the same issues cropping up in Dingwall as he has gotten used to witnessing since taking over towards the end of December.
In particular he bemoaned the simplicity of the goals County conceded, as well as an apparent loss of focus after scoring the first goal.
“We score the goal, albeit from a set piece, and then it’s the story of our season, we can’t hold on to it,” he added.
“I’ve seen it so many times this season, the emotions play with your head and you lose your concentration.
“They score right after we did, and it brings them right back into the game.
“In the second half we lost our way a wee bit, we lost that imagination, trust and belief to keep doing what we were doing and open them up. That’s when Inverness came into the game.
“If we keep giving away the goals that we’re giving away, not dealing with balls into the box, we’re not going to win a game.
“You have to show desire to go and win that first header in both boxes, and we never did that. That’s disappointing.”