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Malky Mackay has stressed Ross County’s spirit remains intact as they prepare for the daunting task of tackling Celtic in Dingwall on Sunday.

With nine cinch Premiership fixtures remaining, the Hoops are nine points clear of Rangers at the top of the table and on course to retain the title, with a domestic treble still up for grabs.

The Staggies, two points ahead of bottom side Dundee United, have lost three times to Ange Postecoglou’s men this season, 3-1 and 4-1 at home, the latter in the ViaPlay Cup, and 2-1 at Parkhead.

Boss Mackay knows his side are in a relegation battle but looks at his squad with optimism.

He told Sky Sports Scotland: “We are definitely in that area with a group of clubs.

“What I have got is a great group of boys who are working hard every week and showing it on the pitch.

“There has been ups and downs in terms of results. We certainly had an issue scoring goals in the first half of the season, but we brought in a couple of players (Simon Murray and Eamonn Brophy) who have helped in the second half of the season.

“But what we have here is a real team spirit which isn’t broken and that is the main thing.

“When we go out on a Saturday you are making sure the opposition is in a game for 95 minutes and in the nine games to go we have to make sure that is exactly what we achieve.

“Confidence is a huge aspect.

“The evidence is how we played against them before. With 10, 15 minutes to go at Parkhead, it was really tight and close.”