Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson accepts the Staggies have reached crunch time in their bid to avoid relegation from the Premiership.
Bottom-placed County fell two points behind Partick Thistle, who they face at Firhill on Friday, after Saturday’s 2-0 defeat by Hamilton Accies.
With just three matches remaining, defeat by the Jags would all but confirm the Staggies’ relegation to the Championship but Ferguson is focused on trying to draw other teams back into the mix by securing three points in Glasgow.
Ferguson said: “There’s clarity on it. We’re running out of games. It is getting to the real nitty-gritty and we need to make sure we don’t hit another bump on the road.
“There were always going to be peaks and troughs. We probably dodged a bullet in that Partick didn’t win against St Johnstone on Saturday.
“We go into Friday’s game knowing if we win we can go above Partick. If results also go our way elsewhere we could be within striking distance of another club as well.
“We’re not going to dress it up. In the position we’re in, it would be wrong to say anything other than we do need to try and win this game.
“There are three games to go and we’re bottom of the league. The only way we’re going to get off the bottom of the league is by accumulating enough points.
“The best way to do that is by going and winning a game and moving on to the next one.”
Ferguson says the Staggies players must cope with the pressure of Friday’s game against their nearest challengers, adding: “These games are all about how you deal with the situation. Preparation, tactics – all that work is done. It is how you deal with the 90 minutes, the occasion, the magnitude of the game.
“It’s huge – and we want to do that better than Partick. If we do, we’ll win the game.”
County could be boosted by the return to fitness of defenders Jason Naismith and Christopher Routis following knocks which kept them sidelined at the weekend.
Ferguson added: “Jason has trained this week so he comes into our thoughts, which is a plus, while Christopher Routis is also back training.
“Because it was stitches and a cut, there is a protocol to go through. There is no serious injury.”