Ross County may sit top of the Championship, however midfielder Ross Draper believes the Staggies have still to find their peak performance level.
County secured a timely boost ahead of today’s Highland derby against Caley Thistle, when they returned to the summit courtesy of last Saturday’s 2-0 win over Partick Thistle.
Although Draper is pleased with his side’s haul at the halfway stage of the campaign, the Englishman feels County’s best has yet to come.
He said: “In general, in terms of the whole season so far, I don’t think we’ve played particularly well. We’re still trying to get going and we still have more to give.
“Hopefully when we get a few of the injured back and the boys are flying, performances can kick on and we can have a really good run in the New Year.
“It is huge credit to the boys that while we’ve not played particularly well in terms of performances, we’re still up there and grinding out results.
“That’s always a good thing for a team looking to win the league.”
Draper will come up against his former club this afternoon, having crossed the Highland divide to join County in 2017, and although Inverness are 10 points off the pace he still regards John Robertson’s men a serious threat.
The 30-year-old added: “Too many draws have killed them throughout the season, but they’ve shown good mentality in terms of not being beaten.
“Some draws have been good – the two against us and the draw against Ayr – but they’ve obviously slipped up against lesser teams at home.
“They’ll be disappointed in that but they’re still in and around it. It can turn around so quickly in this league.
“Their aim will be to catch the pack at the top, but it is all about us from our perspective and it is a good opportunity for us to build a gap.
“Every week is so important. We need to keep the momentum going because we are in decent form.”
Both derby encounters so far this term have ended level, with a goalless draw at Victoria Park in September followed by a 2-2 scoreline in Inverness in November.
Draper feels his side have more to offer, adding: “I think they have upped their game – especially in the first game through here in Dingwall.
“They got the ball down and played good football. We played slightly better through at their place.
“But I actually agree we haven’t done ourselves justice. We’re at home and will be trying to impose our game on them and take advantage of being at home.
“They’re always tough games, usually settled by the odd goal. It is such a tight league, we would take a 1-0, as they would.
“But it shows the qualities of the two teams and the level we’re at that it will be tight and full of good players – and a good atmosphere.”