Malky Mackay insists the confidence Ross County took from last week’s game against cinch Premiership leaders Celtic, despite the defeat, will travel with them to St Johnstone on Saturday.
Jota and substitute Alexandro Bernabei struck at the end of each half against the spirited Staggies as the Hoops emerged with three points.
County remain in the relegation play-off spot, two points ahead of Dundee United, after a third straight loss, but Mackay remains positive as he prepares to take on Callum Davidson’s Saints at McDiarmid Park.
He told the club’s official website: “Everyone who was here saw that it was no easy day for Celtic.
“The team that played didn’t look like a team who are beaten and on the way down, and that is credit to the players and something that I have asked them to garner in terms of having a cause over the next eight weeks.
“I take great confidence into it and undoubtedly this will be a tough game.
“Callum is a good manager, St Johnstone at home are a tough nut to crack, so undoubtedly that is not going to be an easy game for us. But we go down with confidence and are looking forward to it”.
Mackay was pleased to see 16-year-old Dylan Smith make his first start for Ross County against Celtic after helping Scotland’s Under-17s side reach the Euro finals.
The County boss said: “He is there on merit.
“I was very proud of him in terms of the weekend, making his debut at 16 years old, the youngest player to play in the Premiership this year and to just come off the back of his international caps as well. He showed a real calmness which is why I have really high hopes for him.
“The next thing, as any coach will tell you, is that consistency over that period of time but he is a really level-headed young man and he is involved for the right reasons.”