Steven Ferguson is urging Ross County’s players to react in the right manner to Wednesday’s wake-up call after a humiliating Betfred Cup defeat by Arbroath.
The Staggies co-manager saw his team hammered 4-1 by Dick Campbell’s men at Gayfield, with a red card for winger Tony Dingwall proving costly. Dingwall, already booked, walked shortly before the hour mark after being accused of diving by referee Steven Kirkland.
County, having already been pegged back from 1-0 ahead, then crashed spectacularly, with Michael McKenna completing a hat-trick and Kane Hester also netting. Acknowledging the manner of defeat will have alarmed some supporters, Ferguson called on the players to respond in tomorrow’s group decider away to Alloa.
If County win, they will top the group but anything short of victory would see them crash out of the competition. The 41-year-old said yesterday: “It was a sore one at Arbroath – hugely disappointing. We didn’t see it coming, but it has.
“It is now all about how we react. It’s a wake-up call – a reminder for everyone that you don’t get anything handed to you. We got turned over at Arbroath because we didn’t go about our business in the way we have been going about it.
“We changed the team but we didn’t feel we weakened the team. We felt we had more than enough on the pitch to beat Arbroath. But we didn’t deal with going down to 10 men and that’s something we need to address.”
After the defeat, Dingwall told Ferguson and co-manager Stuart Kettlewell he had felt contact when denied a penalty under the attentions of McKenna.
Ferguson felt it was a classic grey-area decision for the referee but warned Dingwall he could pay a price in terms of losing his jersey.
The County co-manager added: “Tony will suffer and someone else will benefit with a place in the team available, but we win as a team and lose as a team. There have been plenty plaudits handed out and the players now need to accept it when they’re not getting the pat on the back and are being questioned.”