Dominic Samuel says Ross County must step up to the pressure of knockout football when they begin their Scottish Cup campaign at Livingston today.
The Staggies have been handed a tricky all-Premiership tie, away to a Lions side who they trail by two points in the table.
Malky Mackay’s men approach the match in a rich vein of form however, boosted by Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Motherwell.
County are looking to lay the foundations for a cup run, after a Covid outbreak forced them to effectively forfeit their Betfred Cup campaign earlier in the season.
The tie will be settled today with extra-time and penalties if required.
Although Samuel says confidence is high at Victoria Park, he feels the Staggies must handle the ruthless nature of cup-tie football.
Samuel said: “It puts a lot of pressure on you, because all it takes is to lose a few goals and you’re out of the competition.
“Especially this year, we’re trying to get somewhere in this competition. We are trying and get as far as we can, so the pressure makes it a tough game.
“That’s football, we’ve got to challenge ourselves in these sorts of things.
“We’re confident, especially off the back of Tuesday night.
“There’s a confidence going around the team, and no matter who we play in the cup we will always take it extremely seriously.
“That goes for the rest of the season as well.”
Samuel looking to make most of increased game time
Englishman Samuel joined the Staggies from Gillingham last summer, but struggled for game time in the early part of the campaign.
He has been given a more involved role by Mackay in recent weeks, netting his first goal in the 3-2 win over Dundee last month.
Samuel is keen to add to his tally but he says contributing to the Staggies’ form is his priority.
The 27-year-old added: “I love it. It was a slow start personally for me performance-wise, but I was adjusting to the country and the playing style of the manager.
“I’m starting to really enjoy my football now. I’m possibly strongest anywhere along the front three really, but in football you have to learn to play in more than one position.
“Obviously I will be strongest through the middle, but if I have to do a job out wide or behind the striker, I’ll do it.
“That’s just part of the game, and I’m grateful enough to be on the pitch.
“On a personal note I just want to try and help the team out as much as I can.
“I do want to score goals as well, but the main thing is helping the team out overall.
“That’s my personal goal at the moment.”
County shared a 1-1 draw with Livi when the sides last met at Almondvale on league duty last month, with a late Ayo Obileye header denying the Dingwall side all three points.
Samuel knows what to expect on Livi’s artificial surface, adding: “It was the first time I had ever played on an artificial pitch.
“It took a while to get used to. I needed a few minutes in the game to adjust to the pitch.
“Now we’ve played them already, I know what the pitch is like and I can prepare myself even more for the challenge ahead.”