OWEN Coyle reckons Ross County testing Aberdeen shows they are ready to mix it with the best in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
A Kenny McLean penalty sealed the 2-1 win for the Dons on Saturday in what could be their manager Derek McInnes’s last game, with him widely tipped to be snapped up by Rangers.
Michael Gardyne had shot the Staggies in front earlier on with an effort which went under the body of goalkeeper Joe Lewis, but that advantage was swiftly wiped out by a wonderful strike by on-loan Celtic and former Caley Jags midfielder Ryan Christie.
On Saturday, they host fifth-placed and Betfred Cup finalists Motherwell as they aim to close the gap on Hearts, who are four points ahead of them in seventh spot.
County manager Coyle knows Well have quality players, but says the recent comeback 2-1 home win against Hamilton is another reason why they won’t fear the fixture.
He said: "Motherwell had a huge turnaround in the summer. They brought some good players to the club to add to the existing players like Louis Moult, who is always a danger for everyone.
"Motherwell will be a tough game, there’s no doubt about it. I know (their manager) Stephen Robinson well – I actually tried to help him with a couple of things when he was at Oldham last year.
"I know him from way back, he’s a really good football man and a really nice lad. He’s someone I’ve got an awful lot of time for, both on the park and off the park.
"When all is said and done it will be a tough game, but we got over the home hoodoo – whatever you want to call it – last time out. We did it in good fashion in coming from behind.
"We went into a tough game against St Johnstone and did well, and again at Aberdeen.
"Now we’re back at home and it’s important we’re at our best – if we are there’s no doubt we can win that game.
"That’s what we have to focus on and be ready for it.
"We know they’ve got some good players, a little bit of pace in the right areas. It will be a tough game but we’re looking forward to it.
"We know from going to places like Aberdeen that we can stand toe-to-toe with really good teams.
"Aberdeen are the best team we have faced in my five games so far. They are a really good side and Kenny McLean and Ryan Christie are wonderful players. We felt a wee bit frustrated afterwards that we didn’t take a point. We’re at home on Saturday and we’ve already said we want to start trying to build that home record. The only way we can do that is by delivering on the field and winning points. It’s a great game to look forward to."
And he’s urging fans to turn out in force to help his players melt the Steel Men.
He stressed: "The fans that turned up for the Hamilton game, given it was at the end of the holidays, we got a good turnout.
"We’re looking for that again because we can never underestimate how big a role the fans have got to play.
"As they did with the encouragement they gave the boys at the Hamilton game, if they keep giving more of that I’ve no doubts the players will keep responding to that encouragement and vocal support from the fans."
Skipper Andrew Davies hopes to return to the fold following missing out at Pittodrie due to a back spasm, while goalkeeper Scott Fox, who came off in last Wednesday’s 0-0 draw at St Johnstone, won’t need a thigh operation and is targeting a return in early December.