Jim McIntyre keen to keep Ross County's focus on top-six chase
Jim McIntyre insists he will not let Ross County's League Cup celebrations interrupt their bid for the top six.
The Staggies boss and his team will finally get to toast last week's historic Hampden win when they host Highland rivals Inverness on Saturday.
Alex Schalk's last-gasp winner sealed a 2-1 victory over Hibernian to hand the Dingwall outfit their first major trophy but the champagne was put on ice while they focused on Wednesday night's crucial Ladbrokes Premiership clash with St Johnstone.
County claimed a 0-0 draw but the party will finally get started after the derby with Caley Thistle.
But McIntyre does not want to see the festivities go flat by losing to John Hughes' team, especially with just a four-point cushion separating his side from the bottom half of the table.
He said: "We've got good people around the club who are seeing to all that is needing to be done.
"But the sole focus for me as manager is about trying to get the points on Saturday against Inverness Caley.
"If you start thinking about parties, then that takes the focus off the main objective, which is to get another crucial victory."
McIntyre has no fresh injuries to worry about with only goalkeeper Scott Fox (knee) and striker Craig Curran (concussion) definitely ruled out.
But the County manager admits it will be hard for his side to raise themselves for another big game after such an intense week.
"It has been difficult, there is no doubt about that," he admitted. "Emotionally, the performance the guys put in at St Johnstone was fantastic.
"The effort levels and the desire not to be beaten was there for all to see.
"But it has been a tough period. However, there is nothing like a derby to get you fired up."
Inverness manager Hughes, meanwhile, hopes the Highland derby against County can be the turning point for his side as they look to salvage their season.
Caley Thistle have not won in seven games, the latest a 2-1 home defeat by Hibernian that spelled the end of their William Hill Scottish Cup defence.
But Inverness could still make the Ladbrokes Premiership top six and Hughes feels it just needs one result to set them off on a more positive run.
Hughes said: "We always enjoy going to Dingwall because when you run out the supporters at the back of the goal are making a great noise and you feel like you're at home and I have no doubt that will be the case again. And hopefully we can get back to winning ways.
"It's all about bragging rights when you're in a derby match, but that's after the event. You have got to be switched on and ready to go."
Greg Tansey returns from suspension but Caley Thistle still have a lengthy injury list with James Vincent, Aaron Doran, Dean Brill (all knee), David Raven (foot) and Alex Fisher (ankle) out along with Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo, who has struggled with a calf injury and illness.
Josh Meekings will be assessed after making his comeback from a knee injury during Wednesday's cup defeat by Hibernian.
Former Hibs boss Hughes added: "To be fair the boys are giving me everything they have got. We just keep beating ourselves and shooting ourselves in the foot.
"We are getting punished for every mistake. That's football, I have been there before, there are swings and roundabouts, highs and lows.
"You just need to rectify it, stick together, trust in each other and keep believing we are a good side and we are not far away. And it soon turns.
"As soon as it turns, the confidence and momentum comes and you are off and running."