Ross County manager Jim McIntyre is confident his Staggies can deal with the pressure that comes with the final five matches of the season.
County enter the post-split fixtures on a great run of eight wins from their last nine matches, establishing a six-point advantage over 11th-placed Motherwell in the relegation play-off spot.
Despite the recent form McIntyre is taking nothing for granted, given the Staggies themselves clawed back a six-point deficit at the foot of the table as recently as February.
With Saturday’s home match against Partick Thistle the first of five crucial matches for the Dingwall outfit before the end of the campaign, McIntyre has urged his players to show the mental strength required to preserve the club’s top-flight status for a fourth straight season.
McIntyre said: “It is going to be an important period for all the teams and it is down to who handles it best.
“The pressure has been there constantly this season. There was pressure there to turn a deficit of points, right at the start when we had none.
“We got ourselves close then found ourselves six points back and now we’ve managed to regain it, so there’s been pressure throughout the season.
“For me, it’s about just going and performing and keeping up the workrate.
“We’re coming into the most important period now and we’ve got to continue picking up points.”
County begin the run of post-split fixtures with Saturday’s visit of Thistle. They have beaten the Jags in their last two meetings, with February’s 3-1 win in Glasgow followed by a 1-0 victory at Victoria Park the following month.
McIntyre expects Alan Archibald’s men to be hungry for revenge, adding: “We would obviously rather be home than away. The games are all going to be really close and difficult.
“Partick are in good form and the last game up here was really tight. We know it’s going to be tough.”