After making the move to Ross County, defender Liam Fontaine is under no illusions about the relegation dogfight he has signed up for.
Fontaine joined the Staggies from Premiership rivals Hibernian on transfer deadline day, in time for the Englishman to play in the 4-2 home defeat to Aberdeen which leaves the Highlanders six points adrift at the foot of the table.
With only 13 matches left County are in need of points and Fontaine, who helped Bristol City escape relegation danger in 2012 under now Dons boss Derek McInnes, says a spirited response is required.
Fontaine said: “I like challenges – this is a challenge and I liked what the manager was talking about when spoke to me, and what he feels he can achieve here.
“I believe we’re now in a mini-league of our own and we’ve just got to firstly chase the team directly above us, and then the rest.
“I’ve been in these situations in the past when I was down south, we were in battles down at the bottom of the league when I was at Bristol City.
“I know what it’s like when you’re on these runs, it just feels like the whole world is on top of you and everything goes against you.
“I genuinely think it’s about everyone having the right attitude to do it.
“Everyone is going to need to want to do it first, and I think everyone is going to need to put as much effort as they can in.
“It’s about having 11 players on the field that really want to get out of this.
“Nobody wants to be where we are, and we want to turn it around.”
Fontaine played all 90 minutes against the Dons on Wednesday, despite not having played since Hibs’ Betfred Cup group campaign last summer following an ankle injury.
The 32-year-old felt he needed to leave Easter Road to progress his career and hopes to make the most of his spell with the Staggies, after signing on until the end of the season.
He added: “I loved my time at Hibs. I had some successful times – I went there when they were at their lowest but we built a platform and went on the rise.
“We got back into the Premiership, and there was also the Scottish Cup which will always stay with me.
“In your football career, you want to keep progressing and keep playing. You can only do that by playing, and having teams see you.
“I was lucky because I had six months left on my deal there and I didn’t know if I was going to be getting a new one.
“I needed to be playing games to earn a deal.
“If I come here and earn a deal with Ross County, happy days. If not I will be playing and hopefully I can get something else come the end of the season.
“My main focus at the moment is playing back-to-back games because I hadn’t played all season – that was my first league game of the season.
“I enjoyed it and it just felt good being back.”