Ross County manager John Hughes wants his players to take confidence from having already overcome the odds to give themselves a fighting chance of Premiership survival.
Ahead of their third last game of a troubled campaign at Dundee United on Saturday, Hughes admits the Dingwall club could already have been beyond saving by now.
However, since taking over the hotseat in December, victories over top four sides Celtic, Hibs and Aberdeen have yielded enough to give them a chance ahead of these last three high pressure encounters.
County have lost four and drawn one of their last five games in all competitions, while weekend hosts United are on cloud nine after reaching the Scottish Cup semis by sweeping past Aberdeen to line up a shot at Hibs.
Yet the fact this group of players have delivered telling results when the heat is on gives Hughes and all at Victoria Park the belief that the great escape can be realised.
“I am in it with them and I understand where we are,” he said.
“I am so proud of them for giving us the opportunity. We could have lost to Hibs, Celtic, Aberdeen and have been relegated by now but we have given ourselves a chance and I am proud of them for that.
“I have been in football long enough to say that it is going to get harder between now and the end of the season. You have to stand up and show courage and embrace it.”
Now more than ever teams in dire need of points will turn to the bench for a spark and former Inverness boss Hughes certainly sees the value in that.
That’s why he is calling on all members of his squad, whether picked to start or not, can play their part in helping County cross the finish line.
He said: “We go with an experienced team and we maybe run out of legs a little as the games go on. It is hard for substitutes. You ask any professional and they will tell you the hardest thing is to come off the bench to try and influence it.
“You make substitutions as I have trust and belief in them and I will continue to make substitutions.
“It’s a 16-man game these days and if you can use your five subs then great. That’s especially so given how well they train and conduct themselves.
“Use them – fresh legs can win you a game, although it can also lose you the game. They have to be switched on, even tactically.
“If you are a substitute, I share the player’s disappointment, but you have to be a good team-mate. When you come on you cannot be in the huff, even if it is in spite of the manager they can go on and say ‘I’ll show you’.
“That’s great as long as you are doing something that is influencing the game then it’s a win-win situation.”
County kick off tomorrow in 11th spot, three points ahead of Hamilton and two behind Kilmarnock.