MICHAEL Tidser backs Ross County to recover from their derby disappointment and prove they are Scottish Premiership class.
Goals from Aaron Doran and Billy Mckay fired Caley Thistle to a 2-1 victory in Dingwall on Friday, with Filip Kiss hitting the sole reply in between these goals.
Saturday’s shock late 3-2 win for St Mirren against Motherwell heightened the pressure for all teams in the bottom six who want to avoid the 11th place spot, the relegation play-off position.
With no game this weekend, County return a week on Saturday away to a Hearts side relegated by that St Mirren victory – despite their 4-2 win over Partick Thistle.
On-loan midfielder Tidser told the North Star he still believes County will stay out of danger.
He said: "Since January, we have been one of the form teams in the league, so it was really disappointing to lose on Friday, especially against our biggest rivals. It was a big chance to pull clear, with other clubs playing their games on the Saturday, it could have given us a psychological advantage, but we couldn’t get the three points.
"We have five games to go, starting with Hearts and we’ll have to take each one as it comes and hopefully avoid that play-off place. I believe there’s enough quality within this squad to do it. Kilmarnock and Hibs have got to come here. Every game will be hard and we expect a real dog-fight and try to pick up as many points as we can."
The 24-year-old is determined to help drive the Staggies, with avoiding 11th the main aim.
He added: "I knew when I came to the club we were struggling down at the bottom of the league. My biggest goal is to help the side avoid that play-off spot and if I can do that I will be pleased and leave here with my head held high."
One of the main talking points in Friday’s Highland derby was a penalty shout denied for County when Kiss seemed to be tripped in the box by Graeme Shinnie, but the referee awarded a free-kick to the hosts outside the box and booked the stand-in ICT captain.
Tidser said: "As soon as I saw it I thought it was a penalty. The linesman put up his flag for a foul against us.
"I thought he maybe thought that Filip dived, but then he booked Graeme Shinnie, so it could have been a penalty. It was a strange one. Had we got the penalty, it could have been a completely different game.
"It was a typical derby – frantic at times. I didn’t feel we deserved to lose it, even though they had a few more chances than we did. If you give Billy Mckay a chance like that he’ll stick it away. We were bitterly disappointed, but we’ll just need to put it behind us and move on."