Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell is confident the task of securing a league and cup double will quickly lift the Staggies players following their Scottish Cup exit.
County were knocked out of the Scottish Cup on penalties by rivals Caley Thistle in Tuesday’s Highland derby replay, leaving them to focus on the Championship, which they lead by two points, as well as next month’s IRN-BRU Cup final against Connah’s Quay Nomads.
With so much still to play for, Kettlewell is optimistic the Dingwall men will suffer no hangover.
Kettlewell said: “Without a doubt this will be a test of character, but I also think the mood should be of excitement – looking forward to what’s coming.
“We could have found ourselves mid-table, with nothing to play for where the games don’t mean anything.
“We have big games ahead but they’re only big games if we’re involved in something.
“I’ll put my neck on the line – I believe we have a group of players who will pitch themselves forward.
“We want them back out on the pitch, flushing the lactic acid out of the legs and getting ready for the task ahead on Saturday.
“As players we would have been made to get out there, but we would have wanted to do something, even just get a touch of a ball.
“That puts you in the best position to be ready to play on Saturday. Then we will look to pick the right team.
“We’re not going to be pushing any panic buttons. Equally, we are not going to tell anybody we’re happy to be out of the cup because it saves us a game – that’s not the case.”
Kettlewell hopes the selection options available to him and fellow co-manager Steven Ferguson will be bolstered by the return of several players in the coming weeks, with 13 games of their league campaign still remaining, starting with tomorrow’s trip to Partick Thistle.
Kettlewell added: “Iain Vigurs should hopefully be touching a ball again by the end of this week, which is a huge positive for us.
“Sean Kelly is making steady progress after his minor surgery last week. They are a couple of players who would certainly add something to our group.
“Don Cowie is being re-integrated into training as well, which is great for us with his quality.
“There is three where it looks a bit brighter for us and the plan is all three will play a big part in the remainder of the season along with the likes of Danny Armstrong, Callum Semple and Harry Paton who were all cup-tied.”