Pressure? What pressure? Derek Adams insists trying to keep Ross County in the Scottish Premiership is no different to trying to see out any other term as he prepares his side for four season-defining matches.
The Staggies are 11th in the division, two points behind Partick Thistle and today’s visitors Kilmarnock, and three behind Hibernian and St Mirren.
County will face all four teams in their remaining games as they look to avoid the play-offs but Adams claims he is not feeling the strain.
He said: “There is always pressure to win football matches regardless of where you are in the league. Last season there was pressure to try to get into the top six and this year it’s to try to finish seventh if we can. That’s the way I look at it and the only scenario I’ve looked at is winning the last four games. I’ve always been that way and tried to look after my football club.”
Adams is a manager who enjoys his statistical analyses and, after watching his side concede the first goal in the defeat by Hearts in Edinburgh last weekend, the County manager has underlined the importance of scoring first against Killie today.
He said: “The percentage of teams who score first going on to win games in the Scottish Premiership is above 70% and that’s because a lot of teams are well-drilled and an sit in and defend well if they have a lead. We have to try to make sure we are the team getting that first goal.”
The County manager anticipates a much more intense afternoon against Alan Johnston’s side than his team faced at Tynecastle a week ago due to the need for points of both sides.
He added: “The games we have left are different from Hearts, though, as they are against teams who have the same burden. The pressure is off Hearts and it is allowing them to play with a freedom the other teams don’t have. We are all under pressure to get results and that makes all of the games we have left to play different from last Saturday.”
Melvin de Leeuw returns from suspension for the Staggies but Adams has concerns about other players although he was reluctant to divulge their identities.
He said: “We have illness and a few injuries to contend with but we will give everyone every chance of playing on Saturday.”
Gifted Greek, Page 61