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Has League Cup win ruined Ross County’s top-six chances?

Jim McIntyre led Ross County to the League Cup.
Jim McIntyre led Ross County to the League Cup.

Ross County manager Jim McIntyre has rejected claims that winning the League Cup has caused the Staggies’ Premiership form to slide.

County have taken just one point from a possible nine since winning their first major silverware in last month’s cup final against Hibernian, conceding eight goals in their last two defeats by Caley Thistle and Dundee.

The downturn has left County’s hopes of a top-six league finish hanging in the balance despite the Dingwall men occupying a position in the top half of the table for the majority of the campaign, with the Staggies needing to defeat Partick Thistle on Saturday and hope Dundee fail to beat Hamilton Accies.

McIntyre feels his side’s inconsistent form began long before their Hampden heroics, however, pointing to County’s run of three wins from eight league matches building up to the cup final as being a large part of the reason why his side has dropped to eighth in the table.

McIntyre said: “I can understand why people will look at it and say that’s them, they’ve had their season, because results haven’t been good enough.

“But looking even before the final, results were up and down as well. If you delve in a wee bit deeper, we have been too inconsistent from January onwards. We’ve been up and down since then.

“It is too easy to turn around and say ‘they’ve won a cup, they’ve switched off’. That’s nonsense.

“The bottom line is we haven’t punished teams when the chances have been there to punish them and we’ve not defended well enough.

“In the games we’ve won, we have done both those sides of the game better.

“So, it is that consistency level of doing both at the right times in games which gives us the chance to go on and win games.

“Our form, overall, has been too inconsistent. That’s why we’ve seen ourselves fall out of the top six. We’ve got a chance on Saturday to get ourselves back into it and, hopefully, things go our way.”

McIntyre says he will have no excuses should County finish in the bottom six but, regardless of this weekend’s outcome, he believes the Highlanders have progressed this term, adding: “We’ve got to look at it from an improvement perspective and there’s no doubt we’ve improved this season.

“We’ve been in the top six all season. We’ve fallen out of it with a week to go.

“If we don’t make it, we don’t deserve to be there, it’s as simple as that.

“If we win on Saturday and are in the top six, we do deserve it.

“It’s not rocket science. Our work is done over the course of the season, not in the last three weeks after we’ve won a cup.”

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