Manager Stuart Kettlewell feels Ross County’s return to winning ways has kept their doubters at arm’s length ahead of a tough upcoming run of fixtures.
County recorded their first win in six matches when they defeated St Johnstone 1-0 at McDiarmid Park on Saturday, having not tasted victory since defeating Hamilton Accies on August 8.
The Dingwall men face a difficult next three matches against Aberdeen, Rangers and Hibernian, who have all enjoyed fine starts to the campaign, and Kettlewell feels the Staggies’ timely result has given them breathing space.
Kettlewell said: “We spoke to the players at the start of the game, the fact of the matter was we hadn’t won in a few games.
“That pressure starts to mount, and people want to jump on us and come after us.
“We’ve got a couple of hard fixtures coming up, but I think we relish it now.
“We start to look forward to it off the back of getting three points on the board.”
The Staggies remain fifth in the Premiership following their victory over Callum Davidson’s side, and Kettlewell is content with the progress being made by his young team.
He added: “When you look at our average age with the guys we’ve got out on the pitch, we’ve got a young team.
“For that there are going to be mistakes, and one or two questions that get asked.
“Some of these guys are learning the ropes at Premiership level.
“From the starting 11, we’ve probably only got Iain Vigurs and Michael Gardyne who have real experience of playing in the Premiership continuously.
“We know that’s a work in progress, but we have to try and build that consistency as quick as we possibly can.”
Kettlewell heaped praise on skipper Vigurs, whose unorthodox free-kick proved to be the decisive moment against Saints.
He added: “I thought Iain was great. Even when there were lulls in the game, I could see him trying to drive his players on, trying to get a grip of the ball and better control.
“I thought he was excellent. Iain has been doing it for years. I keep touching on the fact he was a team-mate of mine for many a year.
“I have a massive trust in him, hence why he got the armband. I think he is that guy who may to some people at times look a bit lazy and lethargic.
“For us he gives us that control of the game, somebody that absorbs pressure to go and play in a different direction.
“I think he has been terrific.”