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Defeat to Motherwell in Scottish Premiership does not spell end of Ross County's European dream, says manager Malky Mackay


By Andrew Henderson


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Ross County manager Malky Mackay is still optimistic over his side’s chances of qualifying for European football next season despite defeat to Motherwell last weekend.

Continental qualification is now out of the Staggies’ hands as Motherwell leapfrogged them thanks to Kevin Van Veen’s penalty in Dingwall.

A dejected Blair Spittal after the full time whistle against Motherwell. Picture: Ken Macpherson
A dejected Blair Spittal after the full time whistle against Motherwell. Picture: Ken Macpherson

However, with Motherwell still to play Hearts and Celtic, and Dundee United hosting Celtic before travelling to Dingwall this weekend, a top-five finish is not out of the equation altogether.

As far as Mackay is concerned, his players have the attitude and professionalism to bounce back from disappointment last time out, with a litte more cutting edge all that is needed.

“The three of us are all in there together,” Mackay stressed.

“We have two games to go, and we’ve got to give our best in both of them – which we will.

“We’ll see the lie of the land. We’ve got to go to Ibrox, then we’ve got Dundee United back here. We could only have asked for another home game against one of the teams around about us, so we’ll give it a good crack.

“I’ve got a great group there. Everything they do, they want to do correctly. There are just those times where we have to be a little bit calmer when we’re under fire. We tried (against Motherwell) right to the death.

Malky Mackay will need his Ross County players to keep their chins up in the final week of the campaign. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Malky Mackay will need his Ross County players to keep their chins up in the final week of the campaign. Picture: Ken Macpherson

“It was a wonderful save from Liam Kelly. For Blair Spittal to keep his effort down I thought was great technique, either side of him I think it’s in because of the pace.

“The save from Joe Hungbo is incredible. He’s a good goalkeeper, and I’m not sure I’ve seen too many better saves than that.”

Statistics show County as the dominant team last Saturday, with the vast majority of possession and shots, but too many of those were off target for them to pick up the three points when all was said and done.

“Liam Kelly pulls off a couple of great saves, but we also have three or four that we don’t particularly test him with,” Mackay added.

“It was a smash and grab, so I can’t ask any more in terms of our application and willingness to get into those areas and bravery. It’s just that calmness under fire to actually put the ball in the net.”


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