Since making their return to the Scottish top flight two years ago, Ross County have gotten used to being engaged in relegation battles. They were involved in a relegation battle before the suspended 2019-20 campaign, and next season as well, they survived on the last day of the season with a win over Motherwell.
With 12 games into the current campaign, Ross County find themselves at the bottom of the Premiership. They have just one win, three draws and eight losses, grabbing six points along the way. Defensively, they have been below par this season, conceding 26 goals. Only Dundee have conceded more goals than Ross County.
Despite their poor form, manager Malky Mackay has assured that the Staggies have nothing to fear. Their only win of the season was a 5-0 thrashing of Dundee. Regan Charles-Cook and Joseph Hungbo are among the few bright sparks for County this season, and they both got on the scoresheet in the game against Dundee.
Recently they lost 2-4 against defending champions Rangers. Despite the convincing nature of the scoreline, County did cause some problems for their opponents as Charles-Cook was impressive going forward in the first half. Mackay has also stated that although it hasn’t yet shown in terms of points, his side have impressed in the way they have played against teams above them in the league. For now, Mackay remains confident that his side are eventually going to catch up and revive their season.
Let’s dive into some stats from the recent game and benchmarking to gauge if Mackay’s confidence is warranted or not.
Although Rangers dominated in terms of the majority of the attacking stats, County nonetheless caused some problems for them. Joe Hungbo provided his side with a lead five minutes into the game. Rangers then scored the next three goals to take the game away from County. Nevertheless, County kept going and eventually added another goal to make the final scoreline 2-4. After the game, Rangers’ staff commended County players as well. Harry Paton made the joint-highest nine passes to the final third while also making the highest recoveries in the opponent’s half.
Ross County’s xT creation zones indicate that they were threatening from multiple areas of the pitch, creating their highest xT in the half-spaces and left wing in the opposition’s half. Harry Paton created the highest xT from passes, 0.159. Charles-Cook was also threatening with his dribbles.
In terms of expected goals, County are placed at the seventh spot in the league, indicating that they have been creating quality goal-scoring opportunities. Their average xG per match puts them in the sixth spot. County’s performance in terms of xG is much better than many teams above them in the league table.
An area of improvement for Mackay this season is County’s defensive pressure and average challenge intensity. They are placed at the bottom of the league in terms of PPDA and average challenge intensity, indicating that they are unable to apply defensive pressure effectively.
County manager Mackay remains confident in his squads’ ability to overturn their form. Furthermore, he is thrilled in the manner his side have responded in recent matches. County’s upcoming fixtures in the league will be of utmost importance in deciding whether they will move out of the relegation zone or not.