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Alex Samuel survived relegation with Ross County. Now he is looking to keep Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Championship

By Will Clark

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Alex Samuel. Picture: James Mackenzie
Alex Samuel. Picture: James Mackenzie

ALEX Samuel knows what it takes for a team to escape relegation after helping Ross County survive in the Scottish Premiership last season.

Now he is looking to help fire Inverness Caledonian Thistle to Championship safety as they prepare to take on Partick Thistle in Glasgow on Saturday afternoon.

Ayr United winning 2-1 against Airdrie last night means Inverness are now four points from safety as they remain in the relegation play-off zone in ninth place.

Samuel was part of the Ross County team which came from three goals down to Partick Thistle in the two-legged play-off final last season to win on penalties and maintain their top flight status.

Now he faces another battle against relegation with Inverness as they are looking to stay in the second tier.

He says he and everyone at the club knows what is at stake and says they are determined to stay up this season.

He said: “We are very confident. I have come into this team, and I know personally just with the way the team is running, the confidence and the mood, we are in a good place.

“We are definitely confident we can get out of this and just enjoy our summer.

He said: “We want teams in the Highlands to be successful. For the people that live here, it’s massive for everyone up here.

“As players we recognise that. We know how important it is to stay in the division.

“It’s one of those where we’ve got to put our heart and soul into every game.

“Last year, when we survived at County, we had to fight. It’s exactly the same here.

“That’s the bog standard – if you don’t have that fight you will really be struggling.

“The encouraging thing is I see that in this team. I really see that fight, and we’ve just got to apply that to these six games coming up, and I think we will be fine.

“The positive thing is it’s in our hands. If we get a couple of wins, we are out of it.

“We are not miles away, we are in touching distance. These six games, we’ve just got to fight and put our bodies on the line to bring this team to safety, which I know we all will. “

Samuel says while Inverness are not in a position that they want to be in the Championship, they can’t be overwhelmed by the pressure if they want to succeed in staying in the Championship.

“It’s a different type of pressure. It’s a pressure that I’m used to. Ideally it’s one of them where, when you’re in it, you need to try and enjoy it.

“That’s how you are going to do the best you can in football. If you are scared, and looking around thinking ‘what if this happens?’ then you are not going to play to the best of your ability.

“You’ve got to take each game as it comes, and try to enjoy the pressure. Then the results will come from that. “

Inverness Caledonian Thistle have not lost against Partick Thistle season, but not beaten them either, with all three matches between the two teams this season being draws.

Samuel knows that they have to look at picking up three points at Firhill today, as they look to go into the final run of games this season.

“We want to turn these draws into wins. That’s where we are at the moment.

“We have shown enough of what we can do. We have the quality in the team.

“When we played them a few weeks ago we were 2-0 up, and to lose that lead was frustrating. On Saturday we want to take the initiative and go for the win.”

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