Ross County manager John Hughes has urged his attackers to be clinical when their big chance arrives in tomorrow’s Premiership match against Celtic.
The Staggies are looking to upset the odds against the Hoops, who come into the game on the back of five straight league victories.
Hughes has options up front, with leading scorer Oli Shaw left among the substitutes for the 2-0 defeat to Dundee United last time out to make way for Billy Mckay and Jordan White, who both netted from the bench in the previous 2-1 win over Hamilton Accies.
No matter who Hughes picks for the visit of Neil Lennon’s men, the Staggies boss is looking for a ruthless edge in front of goal.
Hughes said: “In football you always get a chance. If you are the one that chance falls to, you have to make sure you are putting it in the back of the net.
“Against Hamilton, the two strikers got the goals. To win a game you need to go and have a go, but we also need to keep the back door shut. We need to find the balance.
“We had a practice match on Monday, and Oli and Billy were razor sharp.
“All the stuff I’m talking about, they have certainly got it in their arsenal right at this moment in time.
“If called upon, or in the starting 11, they will not be found wanting. They are ready to go.
“That’s all you can ask of them. It’s up to me to try and pick a team, a shape and a system that helps us keep a clean sheet and win a match. It sounds easy.”
The Staggies recorded a memorable 2-0 triumph over Celtic in the Betfred Cup at Parkhead earlier this season, and Hughes feels the Dingwall side need to carry a similar level of belief into each of their 10 remaining matches.
County are a point adrift at the foot of the table, and Hughes added: “We will touch on that game, we are hoping they will take inspiration from that.
“No matter what will happen in the game, there comes times in football when it’s mano a mano. You have to make sure you are aggressive in your defending.
“Not just for defenders, but defending from the front as well. If we can defend better from the front, that will help us.
“Every one of them is a cup final. We’ve beaten good teams – Aberdeen and Hibs – since I’ve come here, so there’s no excuse. We just need to believe in ourselves.”
County are without long-term absentees Tom Grivosti (hamstring) and Connor Randall (back) who are out for the season, while skipper Iain Vigurs is suspended.
Hughes is pleased with the selection options he has at his disposal, however, and he added: “We’ve been out on the big pitch for the first time this week, which makes a huge difference. We’re getting our distances.
“You look to reward those who do well in the practice matches. You’re actually playing for a first team place.
“I want to create that environment where they know, if they train really well, they get that place in the team.
“Some of them have given me a real headache in the practice games – and that’s what I want.”