Ross County manager Malky Mackay has hailed his clinical finishers as the Staggies eye further moves up the Premiership table after the winter break.
Tenth-placed County are the fourth highest scorers in the division. Their 27 goals are only bettered by the top three teams, Rangers (43), Celtic (42) and Hearts (29).
Now in the early winter shut-down, the Dingwall men ended 2021 with a 2-1 defeat away to Hearts and were not far away from a Boxing Day draw after Jordan White hauled them back into the contest.
Moving back to the Highlands with @RossCounty has been good for @jordanwhite4292 in 2021. 8 goals and 8 assists from 26 starts,including goals v top 3 teams in Scotland. Well done Bigman👍👏👏 Chuffed for you https://t.co/A40L18FRO8
— billy white (@billyw27) December 27, 2021
Even when County were rooted to the foot of the table, they were usually hitting the net. In fact, the Staggies have scored in 15 of their 20 league fixtures.
Firepower addressed this season
County’s last 10 games have brought in four wins, three draws and losses only to Rangers, Celtic and Hearts.
Mackay, who came into the Premiership club in the summer after John Hughes helped keep them up, explained he knew from day one firepower needed to be increased and feels for the most part his rebuilt team have been clinical.
He said: “It was said to me when I arrived at the club: ‘Who will score our goals?’ As a whole unit, we have spread the goals around the group.
“We have pace in the team and I think I was frustrated in midweek and in a couple of other games that we’ve not been able to put games to bed when we’ve had chances to. That could have come back to bite us.
“I look at the recent 1-1 draw at Livingston, we had two or three great chances in the second half to put the game outwith Livingston’s reach.
“Last Wednesday (in the 2-1 win at St Johnstone), we had three or four other chances in the second half. That gave St Johnstone that chance still of a last hurrah.
“It’s our responsibility to have calm heads and try and be clinical. When we are clinical, the Dundee game (5-0 win) happens.
“That allows you to just go and play and have a wee bit more freedom. If it is one goal with a minute to go then you’re aware anything can happen.”
Regan Charles-Cook leads County’s scoring charts this term with six goals, which is two ahead of Blair Spittal.
Last Wednesday’s 2-1 victory at St Johnstone, allied with the weekend’s results, mean County are four points ahead of bottom-placed Saints and two points clear of Dundee.
They were only one point adrift of St Mirren and two points behind Livingston going into the shut-down.
Mackay’s men return to action on Tuesday, January 18, when fourth-placed Motherwell head to the Highlands.
Side causing problems for opponents
Sunday’s Tynecastle set-back aside, County are playing with belief and confidence and Mackay is enjoying seeing his players deliver in the top-flight.
He added: “Belief is really showing through at the minute. Over a period of time, the players are getting to know one another and beginning to play in a certain fashion, the way that I’d like them to play.
“We have a game plan and they are sticking to it. I speak about the evidence of how they are playing.
“They are showing they can go and play against anyone and cause problems for teams and that’s where that belief grows throughout the group.
“That is something we have got to keep growing. We are by no means there yet and we have got a long way to go, but we are seeing glimpses of green shoots and that is something which will help them as a group going forward.”