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Malky Mackay happy with ‘calmness’ levels at Ross County amid relegation battle

Malky Mackay believes there is the required calmness about Ross County as they continue their battle for cinch Premiership survival against Hearts on Saturday.

With just the trip to Tynecastle to come before the split, the Staggies are bottom of the table, one point behind Kilmarnock and Dundee United and five behind St Johnstone.

The County boss has seen enough recently in terms of performances – if not results – to give him encouragement.

He told the PA news agency: “There is a calmness about the team and the club.

“I am keen to keep showing them evidence of what they have been doing recently and the way they have been playing.

“We have played well enough in the main, in most games, we were excellent in the win against St Johnstone, we obviously lost a penalty in the last second of the first half against Celtic and we certainly gave as good as we got, if not more last Friday night in the live game (a 1-0 defeat against Aberdeen).

“If we keep playing like that then it will eventually bear some fruit I think.

“There is a sense of staying calm under pressure, let me deal with that and they play what is in front of their faces.

“Over the last couple of weeks I am reasonably pleased with how they have played. If I can get the same performances tomorrow with just a little bit more fortune then I think we will be doing well.”

After taking over at Hearts last week following the departure of Robbie Neilson in the wake of five successive defeats which saw the Gorgie side surrender third place to Aberdeen, interim boss Steven Naismith could not reverse the trend, with the Jambos losing 1-0 to Hibernian at Easter Road last weekend.

Mackay, however, is reading little into the Tynecastle side’s current difficulties.

He said: “I have seen what everyone has seen in terms of Robbie leaving and Steven taking over but I have a great respect for Hearts in terms of the club, the ownership, and chief executive Andrew McKinlay is a good friend of mine.

“They have built an impressive squad over the last couple of years and yes they are going through a blip at the moment but our games against them in the last 18 months have always been tight and entertaining.

“I like going down to Tynecastle, a good stadium, a good pitch and you want to test yourself. I have no doubt it is going to be a tough game for us despite what people will be speaking about to the contrary, with regards to their run.”