Malky Mackay insists Ross County’s players have been left in no doubt about who they are representing when they pull on the Staggies shirt.
The Staggies return to home action against Celtic on Saturday, following a run of three away games in the space of seven days.
Across trips to Dundee, Motherwell and Hibernian, the Dingwall side racked up a combined total of 1006 miles during the week.
Mackay has been overwhelmed by the commitment of Staggies supporters who have followed his side around the country.
He insists his players must reciprocate by giving them their all on the pitch.
Fans prepared to put miles in
Mackay said: “I’m just glad to get back to Dingwall so that our fans can see our team again.
“On Tuesday night 178 hardy souls were down at Easter Road, and I’m absolutely amazed and delighted that they came.
“I take my hat off to them because I have so much admiration for our fans with the distances they have to travel. Most of them probably had to get up in the morning to get to work too.
“That’s what we touched on with the players – what the day looked like for our supporters on Tuesday.
“They had to get time off work, plan their journey, pay to get down somehow, pay to eat and drink during the day, and find somewhere to park and get to the game.
🦌 1006 miles in 7 days
We thank all supporters for their efforts in supporting the club in our triple header on the road, your support is appreciated as always. pic.twitter.com/Gr3a9B4iuL
— Ross County FC (@RossCounty) November 1, 2023
“They then had to deal with the roadworks coming back up the road and going off to work the next morning.
“You look at that and think that’s one of the reasons we have to run hard in matches, because you’ve got people paying good money.
“They are taking time out of their lives, that’s uncomfortable for them, to come and watch us.
“We have to put a performance in for them.”
County pushed until latter stages at Easter Road
The Staggies claimed a point from each of their away fixtures, and came from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw against Hibs on Tuesday.
Given the recent schedule, Mackay took heart from the way his side went on to push for a winner in the dying stages in Edinburgh.
Mackay added: “I don’t think I can remember having three away games in the one week, where that travelling can be so much. I don’t think it even happened in England.
“The way it has fallen has meant we have had a lot of mileage, and with that comes a lot of logistics.
“To come off the back of that week and have the energy we did in the three games – especially by the last 10 minutes of game three of the week away from home, on a big pitch at Easter Road – was pleasing.”
County are expecting a capacity crowd for the visit of champions Celtic this weekend and have urged supporters to arrive early, with turnstiles open from 11am.
The club has issued the following important safety message ahead of Saturday's match against Celtic.
— Ross County FC (@RossCounty) November 2, 2023
Mackay hopes the Staggies fans can play their part in a boisterous atmosphere for Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off.
He added: “I don’t think we’re ever going to match what Celtic bring.
“When Celtic and Rangers come up, invariably it’s a really noisy atmosphere – and invariably it has been well-behaved.
“It certainly makes for a really good atmosphere in the stadium. I think for our fans, there is an extra bit of excitement in the town, and for the ones who come to the game there is a certain atmosphere bouncing around it.”