Ross County midfielder Graham Carey has warned his team can have no fear about facing champions Celtic on Saturday.
To get anything against the Hoops, County must improve on a miserable home record of nine losses from 10 league games at Victoria Park this season.
Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against St Mirren left the Staggies three points behind the Paisley side at the foot of the table, with just 17 matches left to avoid relegation.
As daunting as the prospect of playing the Premiership champions may be, Carey believes his side’s 0-0 draw against Ronny Deila’s men at Parkhead last month should give cause for optimism.
Carey, who began his career with Celtic, reckons his side could benefit from not carrying the weight of expectation in the next three matches, with Saturday’s encounter followed by a Highland derby away to Caley Thistle and a trip to face Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
Carey said: “It’s funny because a few weeks ago we were looking at the fixtures saying the next few games were winnable as we were playing teams around us. But one was postponed and in the other we just never performed.
“We’ve played well against teams in the top half of the league and we’re confident for the game on Saturday, especially after our result at Parkhead. If we play like that again there’s no reason why we can’t get a result.
“When we play against teams such as Celtic, there is obviously a massive incentive to get a result. It would give us a platform to compete with teams around us and shows we haven’t given up.
“We’re fairly confident of getting a result. We got one at Parkhead and if we keep the same shape and work-rate as we did in that game, then there’s no reason we can’t do the same again.”
Despite County’s troubles, Carey retains belief his side can avoid relegation by finishing the season strongly as they did last year.
The 25 year-old added: “You saw last season after the split, anything can happen. I’m pretty confident that not only us, St Mirren and Motherwell, but other teams will get dragged back into it. After the split it’s going to be a very tight bottom half with everything to play for.
“We haven’t given up. There’s still a lot to play for and we still have to play teams around us again before the split. We have enough quality to get out of this.”