Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson is demanding a strong reaction from the Staggies following their 4-0 loss to Queen of the South on Saturday.
County fell to their heaviest defeat of the season at Palmerston, although second placed Ayr United’s defeat to Caley Thistle means the Dingwall men remain three points clear at the top of the Championship.
Although County’s squad is depleted through injuries and suspension, Ferguson feels the Staggies have fallen short of their own standards in recent weeks and is hopeful the bruising defeat in Dumfries can spark a response.
Ferguson said: “We keep saying it, and I must sound like a broken record, but it’s such a difficult league. We will get criticism for Saturday, and rightly so, but we didn’t come down deliberately to play like that.
“We are in it together. We have been on the other side of that when we have been like Queen of the South, we have won more than we have lost this season and we have enjoyed that together. But this is where we stick together after losing two games back to back. It’s about how we react and where we go from here.
“There’s no finger pointing – the players and staff will need to look at themselves and come up with a way of making sure that does not happen again.
“If we are honest, it has been slipping in for a couple of weeks. There have been little bits of complacency and bits we have been switching off on.
“We are top of the league and we need to remember there are still a heck of a lot of games to go. It’s a shock result, I don’t think going down and getting thumped in that manner was on the cards at all, but it has happened.
“It’s how we deal with it. We will not be looking for any excuses, we will take responsibility for our part in the day. That goes from everyone that played the game, to the guys on the bench and every member of staff.”
County’s focus switches to Scottish Cup action when they travel to Premiership side Motherwell on Saturday, with skipper Marcus Fraser and attacker Brian Graham returning from suspension.
Ferguson is relishing the opportunity to make amends, adding: “Off the back of a defeat, the first thing you want is a game as quick as you can.
“We have got a Scottish Cup tie away to Motherwell which is going to be tough again. We just want another game quickly because I don’t think that’s a true reflection on the group of players we have got or where we are as a football club.”