Stuart Kettlewell believes Ross County can profit from a steady start to the campaign despite having his playing budget slashed.
The Staggies boss admits he has been forced to work with a smaller pot of cash this term as the Dingwall outfit cut their cloth to deal with the Covid-19 crisis.
Despite those cut-backs, County have climbed to seventh place after the first round of fixtures, with only goal difference denying them a spot in the top six.
And Kettlewell is forecasting growth in the remainder of the campaign after seeing his side hold big-spending Hibernian to a goalless draw last week.
He said: “I’m really pleased. I don’t want to start talking about budgets but the harsh reality of this world is that I think we’re surpassing where our budget is.
“As a football club we’re trying to cut down what we spent and we’ve done that significantly.
“So I’m delighted with where we are.
“I think we’ve missed out on a few points and could have registered a few more along the way.
“But I think we have to be realistic and look at where we are as a football club.
“We’ve played against a team last weekend who have been spending pretty significant cash on players so for us to be competing at that level is very good.
“I can see growth in our team and areas to improve.
“It’s nice to have completed that first round of fixtures and see where we’re sitting.”
The Highlanders kicked off the season with a surprise win over Motherwell but have won just twice since then.
Well have had some mixed luck of their own since that August setback and have not played at all this month after seeing Premiership clashes with Kilmarnock and St Mirren postponed because of coronavirus outbreaks.
But Kettlewell still has full respect for Stephen Robinson’s team ahead of County’s trip to Fir Park on Saturday.
He said: “I think we’ve had a pretty decent record against Motherwell overall since I’ve been managing the club.
“They’re a wee bit different to what we faced in the first game of the season.
“We were used to Motherwell playing that 4-3-3 all the time and they were very well versed in their set-up.
“But there’s definitely been a wee tweak to their system. They look to be using a back three, with wing-backs and a front pairing.
“So it will be a bit of a different scenario to what we faced back at the start but we’ll still be up against one of the top teams in the country.
“They have international players so they will be stiff opponents and we’ll have to be at our absolute best to get a result.”
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