Ross County manager Stuart Kettlewell says the Staggies need no greater incentive than the chance to break into the top six with a Premiership victory over Dundee United today.
County sit just a point behind today’s opponents ahead of the Tannadice encounter, with the Dingwall side looking to record their first league victory since a 1-0 triumph at St Johnstone on September 19.
The Staggies are sitting seventh after 12 matches, with two points fewer than the equivalent stage last term.
Kettlewell feels he has seen signs of improvement from his side in the new campaign, however, which he hopes to further consolidate with a victory over Micky Mellon’s side today.
Kettlewell said: “If we want to give our players any incentive, it’s as simple as that.
“If we go and win a game, we can jump a place or two in the division, which in the Premiership is always massive.
“It’s a simple equation for us to process, a good performance and a good result puts us in a better position and we can have a different conversation next week.
“There are plenty of incentives and opportunities for us to do well and build on what has been a reasonable start.
“There have been plenty of positives and you only have to look at our results.
“We have as many away wins and away clean sheets this season as we had the whole of last season as well.
“If you break that into 12 games that has to be a good start in comparison.
“But I will throw another stat in, that we actually had more points at this stage last season with the number of games. You balance these things up and how you want to look at them.
“The negative was the one from last season, when things don’t go our way or we have that moment of diversity we can’t let it snowball or spiral out of control. I just felt there was a wee bit of that against Motherwell on Saturday.”
Last weekend 4-0 loss to Motherwell at Fir Park came as a huge disappointment to Kettlewell, however, the Staggies boss was keen to quickly shift the focus rather than allow his players to stew over the defeat.
Kettlewell added: “We always look to pick the players up after such a bad result.
“Fundamentally, we do believe we go into a lot of detail about our upcoming opponent and come up with that gameplan.
“I have chosen not to analyse last week’s game as much as I would normally do this week. It’s just a wee change of approach.
“I think the players knew where they came up short, and knew the four individual errors that led to goals.
“From my point of view it’s about breeding confidence, back in possession of a ball and feeling good about ourselves.
“It’s maybe a little bit old school in the approach on the training pitch, but sometimes that slight mix-up can have an effect on the players and I hope it does this week.”
County have failed to find the net in their last four league matches, however, Kettlewell retains faith in the Staggies’ firepower.
He added: “Of course we don’t want to be going four games without scoring a goal.
“But I would be more concerned if we didn’t create any chances in these games, and we definitely have.
“I’m not overly concerned. I break it down to getting back on the pitch and hitting the net, and trying to breed confidence.
“We will look to create these chances again on Saturday, and if it falls to any of the guys we believe are a goal threat, we put our full trust in them.”
Kettlewell has injury doubts over defenders Keith Watson and Carl Tremarco in addition to long-term absentees Callum Morris and Ross Draper.