Ross County defender Keith Watson says the Staggies must be prepared to take their Premiership survival bid right to the wire.
County’s 1-0 defeat against St Johnstone on Saturday leaves them just a point above the relegation zone, ahead of their five post-split fixtures.
With bottom two sides Kilmarnock and Hamilton Accies both picking up points over the weekend, stand-in skipper Watson insists the Dingwall side must be ready for the dogfight that awaits them.
Watson said: “It’s looking like it’s going to go all the way. There are teams fighting to stay in the league.
“If we had picked up a point against St Johnstone, it would have been a big one for us.
“I don’t know if we deserved it, but we would have taken it and headed back up the road.
“To lose a goal so late is disappointing, but it just wasn’t good enough.
“We have got five massive cup finals now, where we need to give it everything we’ve got to stay in the league.”
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County put in a below-par display against Saints on Saturday, but were only denied a point by Glenn Middleton’s goal four minutes from time.
The Staggies created only one clear-cut chance throughout the entire 90 minutes, and former Saints and Dundee United player Watson knows his side must be vastly improved after the split.
Watson added: “It’s obviously disappointing, but I think the performance as a whole wasn’t good enough from everybody.
“We were lacking something – we didn’t really look like scoring.
“It was a hard chance for Coll Donaldson, it came to him on his wrong foot. But I think that was the only chance we created, I can’t think of many more.
“We should be fighting to stay in this league, but if we perform like that we’re going to be nowhere near it.
“I don’t know what the reason for it was, but as a whole it was just a bad day at the office.
“Everybody knows it needs to be better.
“We’ve got a bit of a break now, and we need to get ourselves together and keep fighting because it’s going to be tough.
“Other teams below us have picked up points, but we have got to start doing it. We want to stay in this league.”
With County having recorded victories over the likes of Celtic, Aberdeen and Hibernian this season, Watson feels the Staggies only have themselves to blame for being in the position they are in.
The 32-year-old has called for a strong response from the Staggies, who will look to put back-to-back defeats behind them when they return to action in the Scottish Cup at home to either Buckie Thistle or Caley Thistle on April 3.
He added: “It’s in our hands, but we could have been in a much better position.
“Going into the Hibs game and even this game, we were full of confidence to pick up points and keep pushing up the league.
“It has not gone the way we wanted, it’s two defeats which is not good enough.
“We need to up our game and show why we deserve to be in the league.”