Ross County 2-1 Hamilton: League focus pleases Jim McIntyre

Ross County players celebrating
Ross County maintain ambitions on three fronts this season

Ross County may be excelling in cup competitions this season but boss Jim McIntyre is determined to maintain that sort of form in the league as well.

The Staggies have a League Cup final against Hibernian and a Scottish Cup tie with Dundee United on the horizon.

But McIntyre held a meeting with his players before Saturday's win over Hamilton Academical to make sure they did not lose focus in the Premiership.

"It was a huge result for us," said McIntyre of the 2-1 victory.

"We had a meeting during the week as we know the importance of the next seven games before the [Premiership] split.

"That is one out of the way with a victory we know we needed if we are going to make it to the top six post-split.

"Of course we still need a few more to consolidate our place in there as we have been there all season.

Ross County manager Jim McIntyre
McIntyre is determined for County to finish in the top six

"It would be a disaster for us if we were to fall out of it at this late stage but we know we are going to have to earn it.

"We don't have any given right to think because we have been there for so long that it is just going to happen so we need another positive result at home to Dundee United [in the league] next week."

Goals from Alex Schalk and Ian McShane gave fourth-placed Ross County only a second win from their last six league games to move eight points clear of second-bottom Kilmarnock.

McIntyre admits he feared the worst when Jamie Reckord was sent off for denying Dougie Imrie a clear goalscoring opportunity early in the second half.

However, he was pleased with the way they coped with the dismissal and battled their way to victory courtesy of McShane's sublime free-kick 12 minutes from time.

"The sending off changed the whole game and made it very difficult for us," McIntyre explained. "Jamie was in a good position but he didn't get on to the ball quickly enough.

"We have no complaints as it was a definite red card but the players battled manfully for the rest of the game and showed great spirit to get a winner.

"We knew we would have to defend stoutly in the situation and that's what the boys did so they deserve credit for the way they hung in there."

'Very frustrating' for Canning

Hamilton Academical manager Martin Canning
Martin Canning felt his Hamilton side dominated the second half

The result just piled on the frustration for Hamilton Accies manager Martin Canning as his side failed to take advantage of their superior numbers.

Imrie's sixth goal of the season hauled them level but despite overwhelming possession they could not turn it into only a second win in 11 games.

And they face Celtic on Friday for the first time since their 8-1 hammering by the league leaders last month.

"It was a very frustrating afternoon as there wasn't much in the first half and we completely dominated the second half only to end up with nothing," said Canning.

"I can't fault the players though as they put in a great effort, defended well and made a lot of chances.

"The most frustrating thing is that the free-kick they get their winner from isn't one as far as I'm concerned but there's nothing we can do about that.

"I think to give it was a mistake but on another day we would have gone on to win the match comfortably but we are not putting the ball in the net as much as we should be.

"When you are in the position we are then sometimes these things go against you but we will keep working hard.

"On that second-half performance especially you can see that there's not a lot wrong and we have to show that in all our games.

"We need to dust ourselves down and show that same spirit to go again on Friday to get a positive result against Celtic."

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