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Hamilton manager John Rankin insists he needs the same commitment and leadership shown by Brian Easton from everyone in his side if they are to avoid relegation from the Scottish Championship.

The 34-year-old defender had been bedridden with illness all week but took a spot on the bench against Ross County – and even had to play the last half-hour plus extra time as the Championship strugglers won the battle of the bottom sides to reach the fifth round of the Scottish Cup.

Neither side could be separated in 120 goalless minutes at New Douglas Park, with Accies going on to win 5-3 on spot-kicks.

Rankin said: “We had real leaders on the pitch today. I’m going to mention one that started on the bench today and that was Brian Easton.

“He’s been off unwell all week but pulled himself out of his bed to take a place on the bench today as we didn’t think he would be called upon. Chrissy McGinn went off with cramp after 60 minutes and we needed him.

“I think it was a real captain’s performance and I take my hat off to him. That’s the kind of character and commitment we need if we are to get out of the position that we find ourselves in the league at the moment.”

Ross County manager Malky McKay, meanwhile, admits his side need to be more clinical in front of goal and insists forward Jordan White will not be leaving the club after the Staggies turned down a bid from St Johnstone.

He said: “In the first-half we should have been out of sight. On the whole in terms of dominance of a game, I can’t criticise them for that, but I take responsibility for us not scoring today and being out of the cup.

“It’s a bit of both {getting new players in and working on the training ground}. We’ve got to try and mix it up a bit and see if we can get someone in but also the players, we’ve got to keep working at it.

“When you create that number of chances, someone needs to have a calm head and stick the ball in the net.

“A bid came in for Jordan {White} but we’ve rejected that, and he won’t be going anywhere. Today was about freshening things up and he took a bit of a knock during the week.

“He’s got a year-and-a-half left on his contract and we need him and everyone else who are regular starters to be here for the run-in.”