Ross Draper is targeting a victory in each of Ross County’s final three games of the season after their untimely drop into the Premiership relegation zone.
County relinquished a winning position to go down 3-1 to St Mirren on Wednesday, in their penultimate home game of the season.
It proved a costly result, as Kilmarnock’s 3-0 victory over Dundee United saw them leapfrog the Staggies into 10th place.
County must wait until next Saturday to play their next game away to Dundee United, before ending the season with a home game against Hamilton Accies and a final-day trip to Motherwell.
Englishman Draper, who suffered relegation with Caley Thistle in 2017 and County the following year, says the Dingwall side can ill afford any further slip-ups if they are to avoid finishing in the bottom two.
Draper said: “We need to look at ourselves and realise that we don’t always get next week.
“Sometimes you can go in and think ‘I have been here before, we will win next week.’
“We don’t get next week. It’s a cut-throat business, and if we don’t start winning games we will pay for it.
“We will need to regroup and have a reality check, but there’s enough quality in the squad to dig ourselves out of it.
“I think nine points will keep us up – simple as that. That’s the aim, and that’s the positive spin we have to put on it.”
County are in desperate need of a return to form, having failed to record a win in their last four league matches.
Despite recording significant victories against Celtic, Hibernian and Aberdeen this season, the Highlanders have not secured back-to-back triumphs since the opening two games of the campaign.
Although County’s fate is no longer in their own hands, he feels ending the campaign with three wins would be enough to secure their top-flight status.
The 32-year-old added: “We have had the odd good result against sides like Hibs and Aberdeen.
“But you look at other teams in the league and the reason they are out of it is because they have put a run of them together.
“St Johnstone were struggling, but are flying now, while Livingston did the same.
“St Mirren were rock bottom after 10 games, and look at them now.
“We have not done that. We have put dribs and drabs of results together, the odd good one here and there, but we have not been consistent enough as a group.
“We will take that to blame. There are three games to rectify all that and go into the summer still as a Premiership team. That’s got to be the aim.”
Draper was frustrated to squander the early lead against the Buddies, who moved into seventh place courtesy of the win.
He added: “I thought we did well in the first half.
“We created chances and could have been two or three goals up with a little bit of luck.
“We have done it before though, we seem to come in at half-time and everyone pats each other on the back and says how good we are. We then come out in the second half and don’t do things right, and we pay for it in the end.
“When you are down there, confidence is a big issue. You are not winning games week-in, week-out, which breeds confidence, and you are on the end of bad results.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We will put our finger on a lot of things.
“Maybe we will dissect it through the week when we have a look at a few things and then get back to the training ground, which is the most important thing.
“We have got three games to go and nine points to play for. Nine points keeps us up, so that’s the aim.”