Recent experience gives Callum Morris all the insight he needs into how strong a defensive shift will be needed to upset Celtic at Victoria Park tomorrow.
Morris was part of a Staggies rearguard which produced an excellent combative display which laid the foundation for a memorable 2-0 Betfred Cup triumph over the Hoops at Parkhead in November.
County also stood up to large spells of pressure from Celtic in John Hughes’ first match in charge the following month, but went down by the same scoreline in that league encounter.
The Staggies have conceded 53 league goals this season, which is the second highest tally in the league, however, Morris knows his side are capable of keeping Neil Lennon’s men at bay.
Morris said: “Defensively this season the statistics show we have not been great at all. That’s something we want to put right over the rest of the season.
“But even the last time we went there for the manager’s first game we were quite resolute, we played quite well, it was just a couple of goals we probably could have done better with.
“We know we can stand up to what Celtic can throw at us, it’s about doing it for 90 minutes and showing we can be resilient in what we do.
“We can take a lot of positives from previous games against them.
“We’ll be confident going into it, we’ve got to relish the opportunity to play against them and try to put in a good performance.”
County have slipped back to the foot of the table without kicking a ball since their 2-0 loss to Dundee United on February 6, with last weekend’s match against Hibernian postponed due to a frozen pitch.
Hamilton Accies have picked up five points from three games since County last played and now sit a point ahead of the Highlanders, with the sides having now played the same number of games.
Former Aberdeen and Dundee United defender Morris is keen to block out other sides’ fortunes, insisting the Staggies must remain focused on their own task.
The 31-year-old added: “It’s easy to get carried away with looking at what other teams are doing and the results they are getting.
“Personally I don’t take much notice of it.
“I have been around long enough to know it’s about what we do, we need to take care of ourselves.
“You don’t want to get lost looking at other results and hoping other teams drop points or whatever.
“I only found out later that night what had happened.
“But we can’t affect that, we can only focus on what we can affect, it’s pointless getting carried away about stuff that is out of our control.
“We have ten games to go now. Those are the ten games we can affect and try and get points from so that’s what we’re going to look to do.”
Morris has been impressed with the impact made by Hughes since taking charge just before the turn of the year, however, he knows that must translate into results as the Staggies aim for survival in their remaining 10 games.
He added: “The manager has changed things around a bit and we’ve taken a bit of lift, with a few good results.
“But the league table doesn’t lie. We know the position we’re in here.
“As much as there is positivity around the place, we also need to have a bit of a reality check and realise where we are right now.
“As soon as we accept that to a man and realise the task in front of us is to get away from where we are, I’m sure we can start turning results around.
“We can’t shy away from it, and we can’t sugarcoat the fact we’re in the thick of a relegation battle. We know what we need to do.
“Hopefully on Sunday we can put in a good performance and then each game remaining is a cup final. If we can put a run together, we should be okay.”