Stuart Kettlewell is refusing to bet against Ross County achieving a top-six finish as the Staggies aim to defy the odds yet again.
County finished in 10th place last season on their return to the Scottish Premiership and the bookmakers are predicting another tough campaign for the Dingwall side.
But manager Kettlewell sees no reason his team cannot hit the jackpot and finish in the top half like Motherwell and Livingston did last season.
The County boss – whose side kick-off the new season at home to Well on Monday night – told the PA news agency: “Last year our main focus was on staying in the league.
“Some people said it was a tough campaign last season but from out point of view it was job done. Now we’ve got aspirations to get higher up. We want to improve on 10th place.
“Livingston and Motherwell were great examples of teams punching well above their weight. And even during my 10 years here at the club we’ve been able to defy the odds.
“I played in a team which finished fifth under Jim McIntyre, we won the League Cup too. So we believe we can defy the odds again and upset a few people along the way.
“I won’t sit here and shout my mouth off saying where we’re going to finish, but I can tell you we aspire to finish better than we did last season.”
Kettlewell will find himself in sole charge of the Staggies on Monday night for the first time since former co-manager Steven Ferguson gave up his coaching role to become the club’s chief executive.
But he has no problem acknowledging the buck now stops with him alone.
“From my point of view, nothing changes,” he said. “I’m still tasked with winning three points on a Saturday and picking a team.
“Nothing major has changed and I’m comfortable with the scenario. A few people have said things to me as if I’ve never had the responsibility of the job before.
“But after two-and-a-half years of being a co-manager I’m comfortable with I’ve got to do.
“I’ve still got great support there from Steven. He’s doing some fantastic work behind the scenes as chief executive.
“Before, my favourite line whenever anything went wrong was that it wasn’t my decision, it was his.
“But I can assure you now that if I make a mistake, I’ll be the first guy to stick my hand up.
“I’m not particularly interested in people patting me on the back if it goes right but I’m an honest guy and I’ll accept responsibility when it doesn’t go right.”
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