Some will see it as a cruel injustice should Ross County fail to make the top six for the Ladbrokes Premiership split this season, but boss Jim McIntyre won’t be one of them.
Having occupied a place in the top half for pretty much the entire campaign, County have slipped into the bottom six in recent weeks, with just one game left to go before the split.
The Dingwall side go into the weekend’s showdown in eighth place, but fighting for a top-six spot with St Johnstone, Dundee and Partick.
After one point from the last nine available, some have tried to attribute County’s recent woes to a slip in form following their historic Scottish League Cup victory over Hibernian, but McIntyre isn’t having any of that.
The Scot said: “It’s too easy to turn around and say ‘they’ve won a cup, they’ve switched off’. That’s nonsense.
“I can understand why people will look at it and say that’s them, they’ve had their season, because results haven’t been good enough,” he added.
“But looking even before the final, results were up and down as well. If you delve in a wee bit deeper, we have been too inconsistent from January onwards. We’ve been up and down since then.”
McIntyre is alluding to the fact that County haven’t won two successive league matches since December, and their only run of wins came in late January across the Premiership and both cup competitions.
“The bottom line is we haven’t punished teams when the chances have been there to punish them and we’ve not defended well enough,” the 43-year-old explained.
“Our form overall, has been too inconsistent. That’s why we’ve seen ourselves fall out of the top six. We’ve got a chance on Saturday to get ourselves back into it, and, hopefully, things go our way.”
For things to go their way, County must beat Partick this weekend and hope Dundee fail to win away at Hamilton.
Whatever happens though, McIntyre won’t be spending the summer looking for excuses.
“If we don’t make it, we don’t deserve to be there, it’s as simple as that. If we win on Saturday and are in the top six, we do deserve it.”
“It’s not rocket science. Our work is done over the course of the season, not in the last three weeks after we’ve won a cup.”
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.