Mixu Paatelainen hopes Dundee United can emulate Ross County
Mixu Paatelainan hopes Dundee United can emulate Ross County in recovering from an apparently hopeless situation.
The Staggies were bottom of the Premiership just over a year ago but fought their way up the league to survival.
Paatelainan's United, who visit County on Saturday, are 11 points adrift at the foot of the division.
"They're a good example of what can be done through hard work," said Paatelainen of the Staggies.
"We know exactly how they felt last season. They used their opportunity and the couple of victories they gained, they used their momentum and confidence to their advantage and stayed up.
"It was a tremendous achievement for them. After last season's disappointments and dangers, they really have gone forward - forward in the league and cup competitions and been very successful so a great example of what can be done.
"We feel that we can get good results. When you look at our form in 2016, we have played really well. There have been matches where we haven't got enough points for our performances but that's always what happens.
"We can be a lot of happier than we were at the end of last year."
The Tangerines beat Hearts 2-1 last week - only their fourth league win of the campaign - and will travel to face fourth-placed County in successive matches, with their Scottish Cup tie in Dingwall next Saturday.
"It is looking better but we don't take anything for granted," Paatelainen said. "Yes, we won our last match, which was welcome, but this one is a hard one.
"What we need to create is consistency, results-wise. Performances have been pretty good throughout but results haven't been.
"If we get consistency going results-wise then we can put pressure on the teams above us.
"We really must make sure that when we have a poor day and we will have poor days - we wouldn't like that but we will - then we draw instead of lose, we pick up a point and then when we play well, we win.
"If we carry on like that, I think we've got a chance."
United this week announced a £3.9m profit for the year to June 2015, largely helped by player sales.
"It's great that the club has made profit," added Paatelainen. "We all know how quickly money is spent in football. It is an expensive business.
"For a club our size, I think it's only natural and very important that the club looks to sell players to make revenue and survive.
"If you produce your own players, if they are then successful with the first team, we sell them on. That's a healthy recipe."