Ross County have long been the Championship’s team to catch but skipper Marcus Fraser feels they have risen to the pressure of being pacesetters.
County will secure the title if they better Dundee United’s result this weekend, with a victory over Ayr United at Somerset Park virtually clinching the title given their vastly superior goal difference over the Tannadice men.
The Staggies have not relinquished top spot since moving to the summit just before Christmas, and defender Fraser feels his side have done well to hold their nerve to put themselves on the brink of securing promotion back to the top-flight.
Fraser said: “You’re always a target for opponents when you’re top of the league. People want to shut you down and beat you as one of the best teams in the league.
“We just need to be on our game every week and we’ve managed that consistently and that shows by being top of the league with three games left.
“All good managers stress that if you’re not on your A game, what can you still achieve?. It can be a win or even a point that you look at when the season is over, and we were down and out, but it can be a good point in the end. All these fine margins add up and we’ve done that well this season.”
County’s 0-0 draw against Partick Thistle last weekend was their eighth match in a month, in a schedule which has seen them play numerous midweek fixtures, however Fraser feels his side are more refreshed for the trip to Ayr.
He added: “The little extra break was well needed. Our last performance was a wee bit leggy, but it was good not to lose it. In previous years, we would have lost that game, so that shows what kind of frame of mind we’re in to stand firm and keep a clean sheet. In the end, a point was a fair result.
“We’ve coped brilliantly with the amount of injuries, but also we’ve had players playing through injuries that people don’t know about, so fair play to all the lads, everyone has stuck together. While it has been tough, the 11 players in that pitch have worked their socks off and done well for the team.”
County’s title could be clinched by rivals Inverness against United at Caledonian Stadium tomorrow, however Fraser is not looking beyond tonight’s game against Ian McCall’s men, who had been in title contention earlier in the campaign but need just a further point to clinch a play-off spot.
The 24-year-old added: “There is no other thought in our minds other than to go and win this game. If you get thoughts about what other results could happen then we might not be good enough. We need to go out and win the game.
“Ayr have been up there all season and fair play to them. They are a good side and they know their strengths. They are direct, playing 4-4-2, and we’ll probably need to match their willingness to work, as we do in every game. Hopefully we can get the three points.”