Ross County manager John Hughes says playing without fear will be the key to the Staggies getting the result they need for Premiership survival at Motherwell on Sunday.
County have put themselves in a strong position to avoid the drop, with Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Hamilton Accies ensuring they cannot finish bottom and need just a point from their final day trip to Fir Park to escape the relegation play-off spot.
Only a County loss coupled with a Kilmarnock victory over Hamilton would see the Dingwall side end the campaign in 11th place, however, Hughes has urged his players to approach the Steelmen with freedom in the knowledge their fate is in their own hands.
Hughes said: “We need to have a go at them and try and win it.
“We are playing against a Motherwell team that under Graham Alexander, outwith Rangers and Celtic, I think have the most points.
“It just tells you the job he has done. We are going to have to be at our best, but we have to go there positive.
“We were nervy against Hamilton, which is a frustration for me. They are honest, hard-working and demanding of each other.
“Some of the stuff they do on the training pitch is very good, it’s taking it on the pitch on a Saturday.
“I totally understand the pressures of football and sometimes you don’t want to take that chance.
“Even the goal we conceded was self-inflicted, and when they hit the post.
“We need to improve on that. But if we go and express ourselves like I see when we are at our best, we are more than capable of winning the game. It’s all to play for.”
Hughes was thrilled with the courage displayed by his side to come from behind and triumph over Hamilton, in a result which earned them back-to-back league victories for the first time since August.
The Staggies boss hopes the standards set in the victories over Dundee United and Accies can be replicated in Lanarkshire on Sunday, and he added: “We showed character to come back when we weren’t at our best and up against a Hamilton side possibly the better team in larger spells of the game.
“Many a time we’ve been at home, being expansive and we get our pocket picked.
“Against Hamilton it was a solid shape, the distances were good.
“It will not be too far away from how we play on Sunday and we’ll see where it takes us.
“I’m very confident. I just wish I was playing, to tell the truth. Right in that battle, right up for it.
“These boys have given everything since I’ve come in – I’ve had a great response – and I just want them to succeed.”
Hughes reserved special praise for on-loan Birmingham City midfielder Charlie Lakin, who came off the bench to net the winner within six minutes of being introduced against Accies.
Hughes added: “You get Charlie Lakin who has found himself out of the team and trained like a trojan.
“He came on in the last 10 minutes against Dundee United last week and he was the first I spoke to after the game, because I felt his application was immense.
“Toys weren’t thrown out of the pram, he supported his team-mates.
“And he’s come on and become the hero, getting the winner – I’m absolutely delighted.
“I’m just hoping come Sunday we have another hero.”