Malky Mackay: Preparation key for Ross County during gruelling fixture schedule

Malky Mackay File Photo
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Ross County manager Malky Mackay believes meticulous planning has been crucial to the way his team have handled their gruelling end-of-year schedule.

By the time the winter break comes at the start of January, the Staggies will have squeezed 10 matches into less than six weeks, including six midweek games.

While all cinch Premiership clubs have similarly congested fixture lists, County are further tested by the fact they are the most northerly club in the league and have to do more travelling.

Mackay, whose side are unbeaten in their last four games, said: “That’s what my specialists are here for, in terms of the sports scientists, the medical team and the coaching staff.

“I’ve been involved in this for a long time, at various clubs where the schedules are hectic and horrendous.

“What you do is you make sure you plan properly. Over the last couple of months, we’ve planned out everything we’re going to do right down to times of training sessions, rest, recoveries, bus journeys.

“All of that has been thrown into the mix in terms of making sure the players are at optimum level for whatever kick-off time it is.

“That’s the most important thing. In periods like this, generally sleep, food, drink and the recovery strategies is what gets players through periods like this.

“It’s tough times for all the clubs in the Premiership this month because of the amount of games in short succession plus the travel that’s involved in it. It’s all about planning properly and getting the players into the correct frame of mind.

“I was telling the players the other day I’ve got a friend over at Borussia Dortmund and during the season they never had a day off. They were in every day. What you do when you’re in is a different matter.

“But it’s a mentality thing. It’s their job. They’re a terrific bunch and they’re absolutely on it in terms of how fit they are and how well they’re coping with the league.”

County are in buoyant mood ahead of Wednesday’s visit from Celtic after moving off the bottom of the Premiership following their 3-2 win over Dundee on Saturday.

Mackay said: “The fact we’ve only lost one in six – against the champions (Rangers) – and have been picking up points and scoring goals has given us that bit of confidence and momentum.

“Coming off the bottom of the table at the weekend was the cherry on the cake but, at the same time, we’ve got a long way to go.

“We’ve got six games before the break and the challenge now is to go through that and win as many points as possible.”

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