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John Hughes: Self-belief can save Ross County from relegation

By Alasdair Fraser

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JOHN Hughes wants Ross County’s squad to carry a powerful sense of self-belief into the final 10 Premiership fixtures – starting with Celtic on Sunday.

Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness.
Hamilton Accies(1) v Ross County(2). 03/02/21.
Ross County manager John Hughes brings on 4 subs.
Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness. Hamilton Accies(1) v Ross County(2). 03/02/21. Ross County manager John Hughes brings on 4 subs.

The Staggies’ fate rests on how many points they can take from the last available 30, but the manager who took charge in late December knows survival rests firmly in their own hands.

Given the glimpses of true potential and the manner of victories over Celtic, Hibs and Aberdeen this season, Hughes feels there should certainly be no inferiority complex or excuses for failure in the survival fight.

“Every one of those matches remaining is a cup final,” Hughes said.

“We’ve beaten good teams – Aberdeen and Hibs – since I’ve come here, so there’s no excuse. We just need to believe in ourselves. Even given where we are in the league, there’s a great spirit about the squad, and they all willingly put in extra work in training. We’ve been out on the big pitch for the first time this week, which makes a huge difference in our shape and distances.

“I look to reward those who do well in the practice matches. I want to create an environment where they’re actually playing for a first-team place and where they know, if they train really well, they get that place in the team. Some of them have given me a real headache with their performances in those practice games.”

Hughes also feels the players should draw huge belief from the Stuart Kettlewell orchestrated League Cup victory over Celtic in Glasgow back in late November,

“We are hoping they will take inspiration from that,” Hughes said. “No matter what will happen in the game, there comes times in football when it’s mano a mano. You have to make sure you are aggressive in your defending, and if we can defend better from the front, that will help us.

“There comes a time when you have to have great belief in yourself, and your ability as a footballer where, no matter what’s coming your way, you will not be found wanting.”

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