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John Hughes says Ross County’s Premiership survival bid is in Staggies’ own hands

Ross County manager John Hughes.
Ross County manager John Hughes.

Ross County manager John Hughes insists the Staggies can look no further than themselves for inspiration in their bid to secure Premiership survival.

County sit bottom of the table with 10 games remaining, and host Celtic in their next match on Sunday.

The Dingwall side will be aiming to upset the odds against the Hoops, as they look to bounce back from a 2-0 loss to Dundee United in their last outing on February 6.

County have faced a prolonged wait to return to action after last weekend’s match against Hibernian was postponed due to a frozen pitch.

With the bulk of the Staggies’ run-in against fellow bottom six sides, Hughes says his side cannot afford to look elsewhere for favours in the relegation dogfight that awaits them.

Hughes said: “It’s in our hands. It would be great to start off winning games, and great to start off winning against Celtic.

“It’s one that people might not expect, but if we could turn that one in it would give us a wee lift.

“It’s all in our hands – it’s all to play for.

“We cannot shy away from it, it needs to inspire us. We need to be looking forward to that with no trepidation.

“We can’t worry too much about the outcome, just concentrate on the process. If we can implement that we will be all right.”

Hughes accepts County’s scrap for points will not always be pleasing on the eye, but says the Highlanders make themselves harder for opposition teams to break down.

He added: “The pretty football and all that stuff is for another day.

“It’s all about picking up results.

“We have to be harder to beat and start keeping clean sheets.

“We need to be better defenders from the front, something I identified a month ago, be more compact and not let teams play through the lines.

“We’re fully aware of it and working on the training pitch to try and help them.

“I’m hoping, come Sunday, we can implement it.

“If we can do it in coming matches, clean sheets will come and go a long way towards us taking more from matches.”

County have been dealt a cruel double injury setback, after defenders Tom Grivosti and Connor Randall were ruled out for the rest of the season.

Tom Grivosti goes off injured against Kilmarnock.

Grivosti has been sidelined since suffering a hamstring injury in a 3-1 loss to Kilmarnock on November 21, having previously scored in that game.

The 21-year-old has now undergone an operation, with the news coming as a further blow to the former Bolton Wanderers player, who has made just seven appearances this term after recovering from a freak foot injury which kept him out for 12 months.

Right back Randall has struggled with a back injury in recent weeks, returning to the side for games against Aberdeen and Rangers before suffering a relapse.

Connor Randall.

Hughes has confirmed the pair, who are both from Liverpool, will sit out the remaining 10 games of the campaign.

He added: “When you talk football to a footballer like Tom, he talks football back to you. He understands the game, the tactics.

“I’ve never had him available since I’ve been here, but he’s a lovely lad and a big miss.

“Connor got himself back in the team, but the back problem he had previously has raised its head again.”

Skipper Iain Vigurs will return to training this week after suffering an ankle injury in the recent 2-1 win over Hamilton Accies, although the midfielder is suspended for the Celtic game.

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