"They give me everything they've got"
As a consequence of last weekend’s fixture postponement for Hibernian’s visit to the Global Energy Stadium, Ross County manager, John Hughes, has had a little extra time to prepare for this weekend’s home tie against Celtic.
Yogi spoke to us to discuss his side’s preparation in advance of the match:
“We’ve not changed to much in terms of our shape. We want to be quite consistent with our shape, we’ve started scoring goals since I’ve come in. The problem is… we need to start keeping the back door shut, but to win games you have to go and create chances, so there’s a balancing act.
“All that pretty football stuff is now for another day, it’s all about picking up results, you can do it playing some nice football, but we have to be harder to beat, we have to start keeping clean sheets.
“If you want to win a game you have to go and have a go, and if you have a go, you always leave yourself vulnerable at the back. It’s been like that, even before I came… there’s a lot of work to be done but everything we do needs to be done on the back of clean sheets.”
With County now facing the prospect of a relegation dogfight, the gaffer reaffirmed the importance of treating every remaining fixture as a ‘cup final’:
Every one of them (matches) are a cup final, we are working on the training pitch to try and keep clean sheets, to be more solid, more resolute, it’s all about getting results!
“It frustrates me a little bit, even the games where we’ve put so much into it and not getting out of it what we deserve, because of a wee bit of inconsistency. We don’t complicate it too much, everybody on that pitch knows their job in and out of possession.”
As the Scottish Premiership edges closer to its climatic conclusion, the players must do everything they can to impress the manager if they are to hold down a starting position at such an important point in the season. Yogi said:
“I think I’ve got a real good bunch of boys, and every day they give me everything they’ve got, I think that’s all you can ask from them.
“There’s still a good spirit amongst them, even where we are, every one of them on that training pitch want to do extra stuff.
“We’ve had a few practice matches, some of the practice matches you’re looking at and you think ‘do you reward it for the guys who are doing good?’ Possibly you have to do that, for competition for places. You’re actually playing for a first team place and I want to create that competition for places.”
After weeks of being plagued by injuries, the County boss is finally satisfied that his injury table is almost clear. He provided a full injury update to the media:
“There’s a lot of stuff that we’ve tried to put in place in a short period of time. First and foremost, when I came in here, I thought there was a lot of injured players. Now we’ve got good numbers on the training pitch, all credit to them, they all want to train, they all want to work hard, they all want to be in the team, so we’ve got competition for places.
“We’ve got everybody out the physio room, Iain (Vigurs) twisted his ankle against Hamilton but we’re hoping he’ll be back training today or tomorrow. Tom (Grivosti) had an operation on his hamstring so he will be out for the rest of the season. Connor Randall has a back problem; he will also be out for the rest of the season.”