Point at Kilmarnock has set the standard for Ross County
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Jordan Tillson believes last weekend’s draw against Kilmarnock has set the template for Ross County’s final matches of the season.
A common complaint about the Staggies over the campaign has been their apparent fragility at the back.
Much like last season, no team has conceded more goals in the Premiership than County, and in particular the timing of recent goals against them has been frustrating.
Against both Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish Cup and Hibernian in the league, the Dingwall outfit conceded just two minutes after scoring.
Defence has long been an area of concern for John Hughes, who has only seen his side keep two clean sheets since taking over in December – ironically against two of the league’s top sides in Celtic and Hibernian – but the timing of goals against them recently has meant that any lift they get from scoring has been nullified.
However, if there has been increasing worry over what that might mean for the fight against relegation, last weekend County showed signs of resilience.
It would have been understandable if Staggies fans had feared the worst after going behind in the third minute away to another team battling the drop, Kilmarnock.
However, they managed to turn the tables as Michael Gardyne quickly equalised.
Although Killie took the lead once again, County came back strongly in the second half to dominate the match and draw back level for the second time.
They could not find a winner – though not for a lack of trying – but the resurgence was a far cry from previous matches where heads have dropped after losing a goal.
So Tillson says that mental fortitude is a quality County have to maintain in the final games of the season to give themselves the vest chance of staying in the top flight for a third consecutive campaign.
“We’ve set a bit of a precedent of how we have to play,” the former Exeter City midfielder insisted.
“We have to play a competitive style and be really physically and strong. Every one to a man stood up and showed what we’re about.
“We have to do that every game now. We’ve got four more cup finals to work hard and make sure we’re in a good position come the end of the season.
“We’ve got a bit of momentum now and we’ll be ready for St Mirren. Hopefully we can replicate what we did on Saturday.
“We’re going to need a real steel and hard graft in the weeks to come. Everyone is going to have to make sure we out-work teams. It’s going to be a fight and we know that.
“Coming back twice (against Kilmarnock) shows a really solid psychology in our favour and how strong a character we’ve got. It shows if it happens again we can come back and come back strong from it.
“It’s definitely something we’re going to have to spin in our favour and show how mentally strong we are going forward.”