Malky Mackay remains convinced Ross County are capable of competing with the majority of their fellow Premiership sides.
County have dropped to 11th in the table going into the international break, with goal difference separating them from bottom side Livingston, after they suffered a 1-0 loss to St Johnstone on Saturday.
It was an eighth league match in succession without a victory – although half of those have been draws.
The Staggies are now out of action until November 25, when they host Kilmarnock.
It kick-starts a crucial run of seven matches before Christmas, of which five are at Victoria Park.
Despite the Staggies’ league position, Mackay is confident his side remain a close match for the sides immediately above them in the table.
He said: “There’s not a lot between a lot of teams – we will move Celtic and Rangers out of that.
“St Mirren have done really well, which doesn’t surprise me because Stephen Robinson is a good manager.
“We haven’t played them, but there’s very little between everyone else from what I’ve seen.
“In one sense I’m happy about that because it means we’re in amongst that mix as well, which we firmly believe we are.
“It’s dangerous. though, because someone putting the ball in the net at one end, or making a mistake at the other end, in any one of the games between those teams could be the difference between three points.
“We have played against the city clubs and, on the whole, we have acquitted ourselves ok.
“Again this year, we’ve got to punch above our weight because we’ll be seen as one of the teams that are relegation favourites – like every year.
“We have to be better than we’re supposed to be budget-wise and holistically at this football club, and that’s fine.”
Henderson working way back to fitness
County will have defender Josh Reid and winger Josh Sims back in contention for their return to action, after the pair recovered from injury.
Long-term absentees Ross Callachan and Ben Paton are unlikely to feature until the new year, as they continue their rehabilitation from cruciate ligament injuries.
The Staggies boss says winger Jay Henderson is still working his way back from a hamstring strain, however, the former St Mirren player is making good progress having returned to running.
Mackay added: “Unfortunately Jay tweaked his hamstring in the first 20 minutes against Brora (North of Scotland Cup).
“It was desperately disappointing, because he had come on to a bit of a run of form and come on in games and affected them.
“Unfortunately he is going to be out for a month at least.
“It’s a relatively-longer one with him and the two cruciates, but everyone else is there or thereabouts, which is good going into the next run of games with a fairly healthy squad.”