Published: 05/10/2017 10:45 - Updated: 04/10/2017 10:38

O'Brien focuses on next Ross County game - but targets trio of rivals

Written byPaul Chalk

 

Ross County midfielder Jim O'Brien in action against Celtic skipper Scott Brown last month.
Ross County midfielder Jim O'Brien in action against Celtic skipper Scott Brown last month.
JIM O’Brien insists there are a trio of teams Ross County should aim to get the better of in the Ladbrokes Premiership this season.

 

The Staggies midfielder, boosted by the weekend’s 2-0 win at Kilmarnock under new boss Owen Coyle, insists that he really is only interested right now on winning their next fixture, which is home to Hearts a week on Saturday.

However, he did concede clubs of a similar size and perhaps budget to County should be within their range as the season progresses.

He said: "For me, it’s all about winning the next game. You could put the fixtures on a board and say ‘we should be winning that one and that one’, but I always see it that it is all about the next game. I have been at clubs where, before I have signed, a manager will say they want promotion and that falls by the wayside and you set yourself up for a fall.

"Last season, we under-achieved, but finished really strongly. You have to also understand this league is getting better, harder and stronger with Rangers and Hibs back.

"You see teams like Motherwell flying this season, while Partick Thistle and St Johnstone were flying last season. These are clubs that are similar to ourselves and we should be competing with them and aiming to be better than them, but most importantly, especially after the start to the season we have had with tough games, it’s definitely about the short-term and winning the next match."

Former St Johnstone, Burnley and Bolton boss Coyle replaced axed Jim McIntyre and Billy Dodds on Thursday and goals from Craig Curran and Kenny van der Weg earned the Dingwall side a 2-0 victory, which moved them to within two points of seventh place and four points above the bottom two of Killie and Partick Thistle.

And Coyle, according to 30-year-old O’Brien, created positive first impressions as soon as he came through the door.

He explained: "He is putting his ideas across slowly rather than trying to do too much too soon.

"We played with a bit more freedom on Saturday. He told us to go and express ourselves and show him what we can do. It clicked into place and we done well, especially in the first half. He is constantly saying that we still have a lot to prove and I am sure his ideas will come across in training."

The former Motherwell and Barnsley middle man says Coyle wants unity within the group, but stressed that element has never been an issue.

He added: "The manager is big on togetherness. That’s a good thing we have here, it’s one of our strengths. I have heard that said so often throughout my career, but this is one of the best dressing rooms I have been in.

"It’s a fresh slate for everyone, which can also go against you if you have been in the team week in, week out and if the new manager doesn’t fancy you. These are the challenges you have to relish as a player."

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