Ross County deserve credit for earning chance at staying up
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John Hughes believes Ross County deserve credit for giving themselves a chance of staying in the Premiership – but knows difficult times are still to come.
When Hughes took charge in Dingwall, the Staggies sat at the bottom of the table having just lost to Hamilton on home turf.
Some crucial, and at times unexpected, victories saw them rise out of both potential relegation spots last month.
Four league games without a win, though, has them back in 11th going into their match at Dundee United.
Hughes insists it is an achievement in itself to still be battling for survival, although he appreciated the pressure is about to ramp up on his players even more in the coming weeks.
“I was under no illusions what I was coming into,” he said.
“It was my job to galvanise the boys and keep us in the Premiership. If we hadn’t got the results we have we’d have been relegated by now, so let’s give the boys a bit of credit.
“We’ve given ourselves a real good chance to stay in this league, I think that goes missing sometimes.
“There is a bit of frustration that we can’t get back to back wins, that when we get a good performance we can’t repeat it, but that’s football.
“Every club in Scotland will feel the same about that, you can’t overthink it and you have to stay positive.
“I understand where we are, I’m so proud of the guys for giving us the opportunity – if we had lost to Celtic, Hibs and Aberdeen we could have been relegated by now – but I’ve been in football long enough to know it’s going to get harder from now until the end of the season.
“You have to show courage and embrace it, and hopefully that will be the case. We’ve given ourselves the opportunity, let’s go and grasp it.”
County have had long lay-offs between their last two games, and they will have another after tomorrow’s trip to Tannadice with 11 days between matches.
Hughes would have preferred games to come more quickly, but he is confident his players will rise to the challenge.
“I wish it would come quicker, because you just want to get in about it.
“I use all my mental tools. If we’re at our best, then we’ll stay up. If we’re not and we keep making the mistakes we’re making, then we won’t win football games, and there’ll be every chance we go down.
“There’s been a bit of frustration with inconsistency, but you don’t win the games that we have without quality.
“I think I’ve got the boys in this club that are up for the challenge, it’s just about doing that every week.”