Ross County manager Jim McIntyre is feeling far from downbeat about his side’s chances of sending Scottish Cup holders St Johnstone tumbling out of the competition this weekend.
The Staggies were beaten 2-1 by the Perth Saints at McDiarmid Park on Saturday but showed plenty of spirit to almost come from two goals down to take a point in a riveting finale.
Jake Jervis became the club’s leading scorer this season with his third goal of the campaign on Saturday but the result means Ross County have only won two of their previous 17 matches at McDiarmid Park.
Despite his side’s poor record in Perth McIntyre is confident his players can make it difficult for the cup holders providing they get out of the traps quicker.
He said: “We have sized each other up and we will go head-to-head again this week. One thing we will need to do is certainly start the game better than we did on Saturday.
“If you start games like that then you give yourself an awful lot to do. We did a lot of things well in the second half but we need to make sure we do that at the start of the game.”
Performances have improved under McIntyre over the past month but the Staggies remain at the foot of the Premiership.
The Dingwall side had hoped a 3-0 win against Kilmarnock before the international break would herald a change in fortunes but Saturday’s defeat means County remain level on points with fellow strugglers St Mirren and Motherwell.
Ross County exited the Scottish Cup in their first match last year with a 1-0 home defeat against Hibernian but the competition still holds a special place for the club from four years ago when they reached the final when they were still a First Division club.
The league troubles are on the backburner this weekend as they focus on Scottish Cup duty and McIntyre is confident his side can progress to the fifth round with an improved performance at McDiarmid Park.
The Ross County manager added: “I have not got a questionmark over the attitude or willingness of the players. What we did show in the second half was quality. We moved the ball really well and a lot quicker than in the second half.
“We were pressing St Johnstone back and they were camped in for the last period of the game.
“We put enough into the game to earn a point but we know we have to play like that from the start this weekend if we want a different result.”