Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell says the Staggies must remain level-headed despite enjoying a fine pre-season ahead of Saturday’s Premiership opener against Hamilton Accies.
County qualified for the last 16 of the Betfred Cup with ease after winning all four of their group section matches, setting up an away tie against Championship side Partick Thistle next month.
The Staggies completed their preparations for their top-flight return with a convincing 2-0 victory over English League Two outfit Carlisle United on Saturday, with Kettlewell and fellow co-manager Steven Ferguson handing game time to every fit player in the squad.
Although Kettlewell insists all has gone to plan so far, he insists the real test begins with the visit of Brian Rice’s Accies to Victoria Park on Saturday.
Kettlewell said: “We feel as if we’ve ticked every box and got everything from the players we were looking to get.
“But we have to be wary of getting too carried away with that and thinking that’s going to guarantee we start the season well.
“We have to make sure we go through all the milestones this week to get us in a position to play on Saturday and make sure we’re on the front foot.
“But I would much rather be in this position, with our team winning games, scoring goals and keeping clean sheets, as opposed to chasing it and looking a bit disjointed.
“Fitness levels are good, everyone has been out on the pitch – there are so many positives.
“From that point of view it’s great. We just need to make sure that carries on into the start of the season.”
Kettlewell says he and Ferguson will face tough selection decisions for their opening Premiership fixture, and he said: “The players make our job hard. So many people have shown good levels of performance and good fitness levels. It makes it difficult for us to pick an 11 for the game against Hamilton.
“But we are going to need everybody in that dressing room over the campaign. It’s going to be a difficult test for us and one we look forward to, and we just need to make sure we’ve got everybody pulling in the one direction.
“They certainly were for us last season, and it’s important we keep that mentality through what will be the tough times. The good times are the easy bits, but in those difficult games we face it’s imperative we keep everybody onside.
“We feel we are in a stronger position than we were at the same time last year.”