Iain Russell: Curse of the Christmas night out . .

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The festive period is known for providing the first signs of how the league will pan out. As we enter the winter months, SFL sides will be stretched to full capacity which usually separates the league challengers from the teams who will scrap in the relegation dogfight.

Ross County’s recent run has given them a great platform to go on and win the title. However, it also proves that teams are capable of winning consecutive matches in this league. That is something we are going to have to do over the Christmas period if we want to close the gap.

Saturday’s defeat at the hands of Partick Thistle was a tough one to take. We simply did not play well at all. It is the first time this season we didn’t look threatening and we were never really in the match.

Perhaps it was the old curse of the Christmas night out. Every year the team has a Christmas night out and this year we had booked to go to Liverpool. But it always seems to be the case that whenever you plan the night out you always lose on the Saturday.

The result left the boys scunnered and, yes, it would have been a better night if we had won. However, after a wee singalong on the train down and the infamous rock-paper-scissor match, the boys did perk up . .

For me, it has been a very frustrating time over the last five weeks. I have not been fit and have had to watch from the side, which has been a nightmare for me. I am desperate to get back into the starting line-up and feel I’m not far away from full fitness and this Saturday’s game against Raith Rovers will hopefully see me return to the action.

Stark’s Park is an extremely tough away trip. When we played Raith earlier in the season they showed that they are a well-organised, robust side and made it very difficult for us. It will be even harder this Saturday away from home but we must learn from the Thistle match – we need to do more to win games.

This is a crucial stage of the season and the boys are determined to come through this testing period on a high and push back towards the summit of the league table.