Craig Curran is one of just four players who remain from Ross County’s greatest of escapes – but is confident the Staggies still have plenty time to avoid another dogfight.
County fell three points adrift at the foot of the Premiership prior to the winter break, but their focus turns to Scottish Cup action when they return from their three-week lay-off at Kilmarnock today.
A quick return to winning ways is needed by Owen Coyle’s men, however Curran has clawed his way out of steeper predicaments with the Staggies.
Shortly after the Englishman joined on a free transfer from Nuneaton Town in January 2015, County looked certain for relegation after a run of two victories from 22 league matches left them six points adrift at the foot of the Premiership.
Jim McIntyre’s men finished the season with an unlikely yet outstanding run of 10 victories from the remaining 14 matches however. Not only did they clinch survival with time to spare, but they ended the campaign in ninth-place.
Only Curran, Michael Gardyne, Marcus Fraser and Tony Dingwall remain from that squad, but Curran sees enough in the class of 2018 to believe Coyle’s squad can also play their way out of trouble.
Curran said: “There’s still a few of us here from my first season. When I signed here in January three years ago we were so far adrift we managed to climb right out of that and have a very strong finish.
“We’re nowhere near that much off, we’re a game or two away. But it starts game-by-game and we have to start picking up points.
“We have to start winning at home and picking up points away as well, and just amass as much as we can. But we will be fine.
“We’ve got lads that know what it’s about, and we’ve also got other experienced players that have played at a really good level, who also bring that experience of winning games.
“The reality is we are where we are, but there are 16 games left. There’s still a lot of football to be played.
“As a group, we need to get back to doing that. We’re not scared but we know we’ve got to knuckle down.”
County have not won any of their last nine fixtures and although the cup is their initial focus, Curran says rediscovering the winning habit is of most importance.
The 28-year-old added: “We will be going there to win, and then we will get a good feel about it again. Everyone would get a lift.
“Then we would go into Wednesday, which again is a game we’ll be looking to win.
“We will start on Saturday, regardless of whether it’s the cup or not, and hopefully it’s going to kick us on for a good second half of the season.”
Curran faces added competition for his place given the imminent arrival of Woking attacker Inih Effiong, but Curran will not give up his place without a fight, adding: “At the end of the day, no matter who is in charge, if you’re not performing you’re not going to play anyway.
“It doesn’t make any odds – new signings, old signings, young lads coming through. Everyone wants to make their mark and stay in the team.
“Any signings will be made welcome and part of the group as always.
“There is no change, everyone will still be fighting for positions.
“We are bottom of the league and we need to start winning games – it’s as simple as that. We all know what we’ve got to do, and we’ve got to step it up a gear.”