Don Cowie turns attention to preparing Ross County for relegation play-off


Don Cowie’s side are heading for a relegation play-off
Don Cowie’s side are heading for a relegation play-off (Steve Welsh/PA)

Ross County interim manager Don Cowie says his side will focus on recovering mentally for the play-offs after slipping into a final battle to avoid relegation.

With St Johnstone beating Motherwell, the Staggies needed a win against Aberdeen in Dingwall.

But despite Dons defender Angus MacDonald’s second-half dismissal and the hosts hitting the woodwork in stoppage time, the game ended in a 2-2 draw.

That means County will face two legs against Raith Rovers next week in a bid to secure their Premiership status for next season.

“Firstly, credit to St Johnstone and Craig Levein for getting the result they needed,” Cowie said.

“Then it was up to us to match that, and we came up short but it wasn’t through a lack of effort.

“The sending off helped us get real momentum, and we hit the post a couple of times. It just wasn’t to be.

“We still managed to create a couple of really good opportunities, and we just weren’t clinical enough.

“Aberdeen are a really good team, but we showed good character to get back into the game.

“I’m really proud of the group, they kept going, and we’ll do the same on Thursday.

“You’re not going to get any fitter at this time of the year, so it’s a case of doing the bare minimum in training and making sure you’re mentally ready.

“We’ll look at Raith Rovers and study what they will bring to the game, then come up with a gameplan that will give us the best opportunity to get through the two legs.”

Simon Murray put County ahead early on but goals from Ester Sokler and Jamie McGrath either side of the interval put Aberdeen in charge.

ButMacDonald’s dismissal for conceding the penalty from which Yan Dhanda equalised put County back in the game but a late onslaught could not provide a winner.

Aberdeen caretaker Peter Leven feels the Dons’ run of form after the split – four wins and a draw – shows that incoming manager Jimmy Thelin has plenty to work with going forward.

“I want to thank the fans, because the bottom six is not where we want to be but they turned up in their numbers again,” he said.

“Hopefully they have enjoyed watching us over these last seven or eight games, but I have to credit the players as well because they have bought into what I wanted to do and played some great football.

“I would have liked more time to work with them, but there are good players there.

“You can see from the split, we’ve played some really good football.

“There’s a great core there, and a good squad of players. Hopefully we can take that momentum into next season.”