Ross County are ready to take on challenge of hectic Premiership fixture list in coming weeks, says manager Malky Mackay
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Malky Mackay senses a real hunger in Ross County’s squad to transform league fortunes ahead of entering a demanding run of matches in December.
The Staggies’ manager, speaking just before last night’s home Premiership tussle with Hibs, was well aware of how much the next six weeks could shape County’s season.
Having played just 13 times so far in the league, nine more fixtures will hit the Highlanders before the winter break kicks in on January 3.
It has been difficult to build on improving form and what felt like a breakthrough result away to Dundee, given two postponements and the recent international break. All that changes from this week.
Mackay said: “It has been really stop-start for us, particularly with Celtic being involved in the League Cup rather than play us at the weekend.
“At the same time, we’re coming into a period of 10 games in six weeks which is tough.
“It is good the players got some time with their families and good we got some tough training in.
“Then, a few days ago, we got our heads focused on Wednesday night against Hibs. All of the debrief was done on the Tuesday after the Rangers game at Ibrox and we then built that into the next few days’ training, working to improve things.
“We’ve spent time looking at how all the little flaws can be ironed out to make the difference in matches where we have otherwise performed well.
“Everyone in the league sees everyone else every week, so there’s nothing hidden. We know the strength of squads we face and how they play, where opposition can cause us issues.
“The challenge is then to cause them problems as well, which we’ve been doing.”
The lay-off has certainly whetted appetites among a squad who were already showing a great deal of resilience in the face of a difficult league campaign.
Overtaking Dundee is the immediate target, with a real opportunity to build momentum in games against Dundee United, St Mirren, St Johnstone and Dundee before facing Celtic in mid-December.
Mackay said: “There is a desperation to get back into it again.
“It is heavy going, a very intense period coming up, but the squad is fully fit.
“Everyone’s really looking forward to getting their teeth into it.
“Getting the chance to be at home for a sustained period is good. The pitch is fantastic and I want to keep showing our home fans what these players can achieve this year.”