Ross County 4-0 Partick Thistle: 'Big win was coming', says Steven Ferguson

Alex Schalk poses with the match ball after scoring a hat-trick for Ross County against Partick Thistle
Alex Schalk took his haul for the season to 13 goals with a hat-trick against Partick Thistle

Interim co-manager Steven Ferguson believes Ross County's thumping of Partick Thistle had "been coming" for several weeks.

The 4-0 thrashing took the Staggies off bottom spot in the Scottish Premiership at the expense of the Jags.

Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell have been in temporary charge since Owen Coyle's departure on 1 March.

"Stuart and I have been working with the guys for a few weeks now and we see that quality," Ferguson said.

"We've just been trying to push the right buttons. We knew this was coming, we hoped it would come tonight and thankfully it did."

Dutch striker Alex Schalk bagged a treble, with Ross Draper also finding the net to secure an emphatic and potentially vital triumph in the race to beat the drop.

They are level on points with Thistle, but crucially, their goal difference is now 11 superior to that of the Firhill outfit, who have not won in nine league matches.

Stuart Kettlewell instructs his Ross County players
Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell, pictured, have been in interim charge for a month

"Anybody that was here will appreciate the effort, work rate and togetherness of the players," Ferguson told BBC Scotland.

"It's 100% about what they did, they deserve huge credit for the way they went about it and it's nice to see them get their just rewards.

"We've got a group of players willing to take responsibility. Alex tonight was fantastic, but he had a great wingman up front with him in Billy Mckay. I thought their movement and work rate was a real catalyst for us to go and get the result.

"Stuart and I are very much level-headed. It's one game, but psychologically, it's huge we've managed to get ourselves off the bottom of the league. But we understand we've got six huge games coming up."

'We're too good to be in this position'

Hat-trick-scorer Schalk took his tally for the season to 13 goals, and insists County have too much quality to find themselves near the foot of the standings.

"The first goal is so important psychologically and after we scored it a weight fell off our shoulders and we did brilliantly to build on that," the Dutchman said.

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Highlights: Ross County 4-0 Partick Thistle

"The goal difference is [worth] an extra point. But we need to look at ourselves. We're too good to be in this position - we've said that a long time, I know, but now we're actually showing it.

"We need to take the good things out of that game into Saturday [against Hibernian in Dingwall] and after the split. We need some more wins like this to get ourselves to safety but I'm confident we will."

'We can't feel sorry for ourselves'

Alan Archibald's Jags' bleak run continued, and they welcome in-form Kilmarnock, who have not lost on Premiership duty since late January.

"Bitterly disappointing," was the Thistle manger's assessment of his team's display.

Josh Turnbull cuts a dejected figure after Partick Thistle are hammered by Ross County
Partick Thistle are without a victory in nine Premiership outings

"It was never going to be a game for the purists with the conditions tonight, the first goal was going to be very, very important and County got it, and it gave them real confidence.

"We looked for a reaction at half-time, we put a couple of attacking players on. But we didn't defend, and we got three warnings before they scored the third goal.

"It's been like that all season, it's been a real Achilles heel in terms of trying to keep a clean sheet and keep the ball out of the net.

"It was hugely concerning. Massive game coming up on Saturday now. We need to get a reaction; that's all we can do is look to get a bounce off it.

"We can't feel sorry for ourselves. We've got to try and dig in and stick together to try and get that result to kick us on."

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