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Being tipped for relegation gives Ross County a cause to rally around, says manager Malky Mackay

By Andrew Henderson

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Malky Mackay is well aware that Ross County are being tipped for relegation – and he says bring it on.

This season's Premiership, with the additions of newly-promoted Hearts and Dundee, is being called one of the strongest in years.

However, after only securing their top-flight status on the last day of the 2020/21 season, the Staggies are being called one of the favourites to go down when the current campaign draws to a close.

Rather than baulking at the prospect of a long season ahead, though, Mackay hopes it will galvanise his players and bring them closer together.

“In everything I’m reading we’re tipped for relegation," Mackay said.

“I don’t care about that. I’m only focused on making sure that our group of players are, mentally and physically, in a good place – that we go into every week and make sure we prepare ourselves properly, individually, for every game this year and we only hone in on the opposition we play that week.

Ross County are being tipped by many to be in a relegation fight again this season. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Ross County are being tipped by many to be in a relegation fight again this season. Picture: Ken Macpherson

“For me, that’s how to structure a football team that’s actually going to go and get results in this league.

“You’d have to ask others about expectations, but I’m certainly reading in plenty of places that we’re tipped for relegation. That’ll do me, we can live with that for a cause.”

On paper, County have a difficult opening stretch to the Premiership, facing five of last season's top six sides with a trip to Hibernian next up this Sunday.

The quality Jack Ross has at his disposal at Easter Road was clear to see last year as the Hibees finished third, but Mackay is optimistic ahead of the Staggies' trip to the capital.

"The next month is definitely tough, and on Sunday we're going down to a team that did really well last year," he added.

"Hibs are one of Scotland's biggest clubs, and Jack – who I know well – is a good manager.

"They got to a cup final as well, so we're going there knowing that we're playing against one of the best teams in the division.

"Having looked at them against a very spirited Motherwell last weekend, to come back and win the game up there, you could see that they've got a lot of strings to their bow.

"It's going to be a tough game, but I'm really looking forward to it obviously."

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