Ross County boss Jim McIntyre confident ahead of Highland derby
Boss Jim McIntyre stressed the belief he has in his Ross County side as he prepares for the Highland derby against Inverness on Saturday.
Following a six-game unbeaten run, the Staggies have lost their last two matches, with a 3-1 home defeat to Partick Thistle followed by a 2-0 loss to Ladbrokes Premiership leaders Celtic at Parkhead on Wednesday night.
County dropped to eighth in the table and McIntyre is keen to head into the three-week winter break on a high.
Caley are bottom of the heap and without a win in nine but they have won in their last five visits to Dingwall which leaves the County manager in no doubt as to the significance of the last fixture of 2016.
He said: "I am confident of winning any match. I believe in my team, we have good players and if we do the right things really well we have a great chance of winning the match.
"We know we are facing a team who are determined to win the match and they have a good record here.
"So we have to make sure we win our individual battles.
"It is a Highland derby, it is about rolling your sleeves up and making sure you are getting the best of your individual battles.
"We want to make sure that we are giving our fans the bragging rights going into the New Year."
McIntyre was pleased with many aspects of County's play despite the defeat to the Hoops who scored through defender Erik Sviatchenko and midfielder Stuart Armstrong before the break.
The former Queen of the South boss believes his players can take enough encouragement from their Parkhead performance.
He said: "We have been playing well. We had a poor performance against Thistle on Friday night but outwith that our performances have been very good.
"We were six games unbeaten and playing with a lot of confidence and I think the players will take confidence from the type of performance they put in against Celtic.
"The quality that they had on their bench, that is the difference in Celtic from last year to this year.
"There is no dilution of player when they make a substitution, it is the same type of quality that they are bringing in and it is hard to deal with at times.
"But I thought my players were fantastic in terms of the way they battled for each other and tried to do the right things."
Inverness manager Richie Foran retains belief his side will finish in the top six - but he knows they need to start taking their chances.
Caley Thistle were denied by the post and bar in a 2-1 home defeat by Motherwell on Wednesday night.
"We're sitting bottom and deserve to be, but we're playing quite well," Foran said. "We're the better team and dominating most games, but we're losing them. I'll take a poor performance and a 1-0 win.
"It's too early to talk about pressure. We win this game, we can jump two or three places and are a point behind them heading into the break. It's one we want to win badly. I still believe we'll finish in the top six but we need to turn these performances in front of goal.
"You can talk about luck but you have to go and make it. There's no excuses now - it's down to us all to get results and I believe we will."