Stuart Kettlewell insists Ross County cannot be written off again on the back of their defeat to Aberdeen.
County boss Kettlewell is aware his side were among the pre-season favourites for the drop but believes they have competed well in pretty much every game this season.
They started the season with two wins, against Motherwell and Hamilton Accies, before a sticky spell, which included shipping five at home to Celtic.
A 1-0 win over St Johnstone steadied the ship and a 3-0 defeat to the Dons at the weekend is not going to prompt Kettlewell to make wholesale adjustments.
Their task does not get much easier this Sunday with a trip to Ibrox to face Rangers and Kettlewell insists all within Victoria Park are keeping a level head.
Kettlewell said: “We were written off at the start of the season as going to be the team that was going to be relegated – ourselves and Hamilton were favourites for that. Win a couple of games, the context of that changes and everybody speaks about top six. Lose against Aberdeen and we filter back into that bottom six.
“The bit I get frustrated with in football is I hate this rollercoaster, where everybody’s emotions are up and down continuously.
“I’m a huge believer in keeping a level head, our emotions can’t change every other day. That’s what I try to get into the players because you can’t listen to outside influences.
“After St Johnstone people were saying it was a great win and we would be in the top six, we have a bad result against Aberdeen and people are tipping us for relegation.
“I can’t control any of that and you’re never going to be able to do that.”
The Staggies manager also refuted any suggestion Ross Stewart was affected by speculation surrounding his future, with MK Dons the latest club to be linked with a move for the striker.
Kettlewell added: “I would struggle to give anyone passmarks off the back of the game on Sunday. The players have been told that and the players have held their hands up to that as well. It is different if I am sitting here thinking they are poor and these guys are actually thinking they performed well. They didn’t and they take it on the chin.
“Ross is no different and that is nothing about speculation or him being unsettled at the football club. We deal with human beings not robots and there is a flaw in us all.
“Myself, I have plenty of them and I have bad days the same as anybody else. I back my players 100 per cent and Ross is in that group I trust and I always will do.”