Michael Fraser believes Ross County’s pressing need for Premiership points could be the driving force for another memorable result against Celtic on Sunday.
The Staggies sit bottom of the table on goal difference with 10 matches remaining, having been leapfrogged by Hamilton Accies following their 4-1 win over Motherwell on Saturday.
Celtic’s 10-in-a-row title push looks to be over barring a spectacular collapse from leaders Rangers, who are 18 points clear at the top having played a game more.
With County having already defeated Neil Lennon’s side 2-0 in a Betfred Cup tie at Parkhead in December, former Staggies goalkeeper Fraser reckons they are capable of producing another stunning triumph.
Fraser said: “It will be a tough game for Ross County, as Celtic seemed to have picked up a wee bit but I think they are just playing out the season to be honest.
“They don’t look like a coherent unit, they’re just hoping the individual ability of their better players will take them through.
“County will have a chance because of that, and especially with Celtic’s defensive problems. They’ve got a good chance at home.
“They went down and beat Celtic at Parkhead, and it will be similar personnel on the pitch.
“There is no reason why they can’t get some sort of result against them. At this point in the season they’ve got more to play for than Celtic.
“If you look at it that way they’ve got a lot more riding on the game than Celtic do, and that can come into it.
“It’s probably a bit of a free go for County on Sunday.”
County manager John Hughes has called for consistency from his side, who have recorded fine wins over Hibernian, Aberdeen and Hamilton Accies in recent weeks but have not won back-to-back games since the opening two weeks of the season.
Fraser feels the Staggies must keep a strong mentality when they experience adversity, and he added: “You can’t expect a new manager to come in and go from struggling to winning every game.
“They’ve just got to pick up decent results when they can. When you’re down there, there’s no way any of those teams are going to win every week.
“It’s important they do pick up these points. When you’re playing for a team that’s more likely to be closer to the bottom than the top, getting the odd win here and there is massive.”
Fraser was part of the last County side to defeat Celtic in Dingwall, when Steffen Wohlfarth netted the winner in a 3-2 victory in March 2013.
It was a bittersweet afternoon for Fraser, who conceded straight from an early Charlie Mulgrew corner before an error allowed Gary Hooper to score shortly afterwards.
County rallied through first half goals from Grant Munro and Sam Morrow, before German forward Wohlfarth’s late header clinched the points.
Fraser feels the absence of crowds has resulted in a lack of edge, which the 37-year-old reckons he would struggle with in games against the Old Firm.
Fraser added: “I’ve got mixed memories. Charlie Mulgrew scored the corner past me but it was actually a really good goal. You shouldn’t be losing a goal from a corner but he’s got a wand of a left foot.
“I made a worse mistake for the second when I made a complete mess of Gary Hooper’s goal.
“I had a decent enough game after that, I made a few saves after that. We nicked the win which was amazing, especially after being 2-0 down.
“You want days like that, but they were always good because the stadium was full.
“I loved playing against the Old Firm when you knew it was on television, the away end was always full and there was a great atmosphere.
“It made it so much easier to play when the atmosphere was already there.
“I would find it really difficult to play just now. I remember playing in training games or bounce games. You know you need to play well, but it just didn’t feel like a real game.
“Your mind is telling you that you need to treat it properly, but you don’t play as well.
“It’s a bit different now because the boys know they are proper games, but it must be such a strange feeling.”