Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson believes the Staggies’ players have shown they relish the stakes being high ahead of tomorrow’s top-of-the-table Championship encounter against Ayr United.
County will leapfrog the Honest Men top spot if they secure three points from their match against Ian McCall’s side, which completes the opening round of second-tier fixtures.
Ferguson feels returning to top spot for the first time since August 25 should act as a strong incentive to triumph at Victoria Park, and he reckons recent victories away to Dundee United and Partick Thistle have shown his players are up for the challenge.
Ferguson said: “Fortunately we have got guys who relish these games and look forward to them. The game against Ayr on Saturday is no different to that.
“We feel we have a group of players that want to play in big games and know they need to bring their ‘A’ game to every Saturday at 3pm.
“I think it’s really important – and it was a big part of our recruitment – getting the right type for the battle the Championship possesses in every game.
“The longer the season goes, the more emphasis comes on top of the table clashes. We’re still early in the season, but we’d genuinely like to finish the first quarter top of the pile.
“To do that, we have to beat Ayr and that’s a credit to the start they’ve had. We won’t underestimate Ayr, that’s for sure.”
Two of County’s Championship rivals have opted to make early managerial changes, with Robbie Neilson replacing Csaba Laszlo at Dundee United, while Alan Archibald has made way for Gary Caldwell at Partick Thistle.
Ferguson feels the appointments will only increase the competition the Staggies face in their hopes of returning to the top-flight, and he added: “There have been a couple of managerial changes with Robbie coming in at Dundee United and Gary at Partick.
“It has already been tough in this division, but it is only going to get harder.
“It is this fragile world of being a league manager. I’m sure the guys who were in place would have felt they were going to turn it around and get the results they needed.
“But unfortunately their chairmen saw it differently and they have brought in guys who will have aspirations of going out and winning games to try to rise out of the league. It is just more spice into the pot.
“It’s a really good league. I’m not a gambling man and just as well because I couldn’t pick a result from week-to-week.”