Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson insists the recent downturn in form has only reinforced the challenges the Staggies expected after stepping up to the Premiership.
County are looking to end a nine-match winless streak when they host Hibernian tomorrow night, with their last victory coming in a 2-1 win over Motherwell on September 21.
It follows a bright start which saw County take 10 points from their opening five matches, however Ferguson says the Dingwall side’s expectations have never shifted beyond a competitive battle to remain in the top flight.
Ferguson said: “Given how tight it is, a couple of results can really carry you and that’s what we’ll be looking to do – along with another six teams in the league.
“Everybody will be looking at games where they feel they should be taking something from and others where it is damage-limitation, against the Old Firm.
“We look at it as us being in a battle to stay in the Premiership. I said the exact same thing in August.
“There’s nothing different. The only change is we were speaking about it in August, now we’re living it.
“As a provincial club, with the size of budget we have and the group of players we’ve got, we have to max out everything we have collectively, to be able to compete in the Premiership. That’s what we are trying to do.”
County’s recent struggles have magnified the fact they have the worst defensive record in the league, having already conceded 34 goals in 15 league matches so far this term.
Ferguson insists he and fellow co-manager Stuart Kettlewell were always braced for a sticky spell following promotion from the Championship.
He added: “We are in the spotlight all the time, but there are a number of clubs that have had a similar run of form.
“We knew that’s what it was going to be like in the Premiership. It’s very difficult to string three, four or five games together in your favour.
“It’s also very easy, depending on what your run of fixtures is, to slip into a run of not getting very much from three, four or five games.
“There’s enough people that will throw their opinion in, but we know what the problem is in the run we are in.
“It’s not us hiding behind anything, or trying to paper over any cracks.
“We know the issues and we know we are losing too many cheap goals. We know we have conceded the most goals in the league.
“Nobody is telling us anything we don’t know already, or highlighting something new.”