Malky Mackay says a stroke of inspiration from World Cup winner Lionel Messi helped his side to a 3–0 victory over Kilmarnock in the cinch Premiership.
As part of his pre-match team talk, Mackay used Messi and his Argentina teammates as an example of how quickly fortunes can change in football.
Argentina were on the wrong end of a World Cup shock against Saudi Arabia last November, but still went on to lift the trophy in the final.
Mackay used those lows and highs to encourage his own set of players in Dingwall, and it clearly paid dividends.
“I showed the boys a picture of Lionel Messi before the game, with his head in his hands standing next to a Saudi Arabian player at the final whistle,” Mackay said.
“Then I clicked the picture and it is Messi holding the World Cup aloft, going from the whole of Argentina vilifying him in the space of four weeks to winning the World Cup.
“Things change quickly in football and I said if we got this today we’re back and it is all guns blazing. That’s what has happened.
“I’m really delighted for them and they got the clean sheet as well.”
Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes, meanwhile, believes his side missed an opportunity to get a season-defining result on the board.
“We saw today as a real opportunity to get six points clear of County,” he explained.
“There are certain defining moments in a season that you look back on, and we missed that opportunity today.
“We will have more opportunities, but the penny has to drop – we can’t keep not taking these chances when both teams are in the game.
“County obviously got a lift by getting themselves in front, and they were the ones who got the job done and will get the plaudits.
“We have to make sure we improve in terms of not losing cheap goals and scoring goals.
“I think we have enough about us, and I’m disappointed for the supporters because we care as much as they do.
“We came up here and trained yesterday afternoon, the boys were in the hotel, and we had a good preparation for the game.
“We’re getting paid to be up here and the supporters pay their money to be up, so I’m disappointed we haven’t given them the result we were hoping for, but there’s plenty of time to make it up to them.”