Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell feels the Staggies have shown they are capable of going the distance in their pursuit of victories this season.
Last weekend’s 1-0 victory over Alloa Athletic was the third match the Staggies have won this season as a result of a goal scored after 85 minutes, along with their opening day Championship victory over the Wasps and a Betfred Cup triumph over Dundee United.
Of the current top four, Caley Thistle are the only other team to have struck late to secure victory, in a League Cup tie against Raith Rovers in July, and Kettlewell feels the late goals have been the reward for his side’s refusal to panic in the latter stages.
Kettlewell said: “Over the course of the season we have scored quite a lot of late goals.
“That’s three goals we have scored after 85 minutes against Alloa this season. We also scored late against Dundee United to win the game up here.
“That’s a good thing for us as well – a real positive mindset for our players to realise we are continuing to play towards the end of games. We like that aspect of it.
“I know games can change from week-to-week – whether you go and dominate one and win by three or four goals, or score early and you’re able to hold on to that.
“I think the way players will feel after the likes of that is massive.
“It tells you our fitness levels are good, and that we are continuing to play right towards the end of the game.
“I think it shows we are not panicking as well, as you can become frantic and lose a lot of quality in that spell.
“The mental aspect shows you are in a good position that way and you believe you can still score a goal.”
Kettlewell confirmed attacker Brian Graham will miss tomorrow’s home match against Queen of the South with a groin injury, with defender Callum Morris (knee) and midfielder Iain Vigurs (foot) also likely to be sidelined.
Kettlewell urged some of the Staggies’ youngsters to seize their chance, with defender Tom Grivosti having broken into the side in recent weeks.
He added: “A massive positive is the levels of performance we are getting from some of the young players, off the back of a really good 5-1 win against Morton during the week.
“There are a few of them finding a real level of consistency in their performances.
“That’s where the progression has to be. I’ve obviously been in Richie Brittain’s shoes as manager of the younger team.
“When you see guys performing well on a regular basis in training and matches we need to pitch them in and see if they can cope with it at first team level.
“They need to train with our group and, like Tom Grivosti, they go and start games or make substitute appearances.
“If they come in and do well, they are pitching their hat in the ring.”