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County must 'put own stamp' on play-off final

Interim manager Don Cowie insists his side must be "mentally prepared" for the first leg of the play-off final against Raith Rovers.

For a second year running the Highland side must defend their top-flight status against Championship opposition, with the first leg at Stark's Park on Thursday night.

And Cowie has urged his men to bounce back from the disappointment of dropping into the play-off spot on the final day of the Premiership season.

"It's a big game so you have to be prepared and ready for it," Cowie said. "That's why it was important yesterday to have the day off [on Monday], just to reset the mindset, to come in here fresh. Now it's just focusing on Raith on Thursday.

"They're a team that's going to be confident. They pushed Dundee United all the way for the majority of the season. They've got really good options, especially in midfield and forward areas.

"They're going to have a big home crowd, so they're going to be feeling really positive about the game. We need to be ready for that and prepared for what's coming and then put our own stamp on the game."

If County were to suffer relegation, they would be the second Highland team this season to go down, following Inverness Caledonian Thistle's loss to Hamilton Accies in the Championship play-off final.

"I'm disappointed for Caley," Cowie added. "It's a team that I played for as well. As much as they are our rivals, it's a club that means a lot to me in terms of what they did for my career, so it's never nice to see what's happened there.

"I'm sure they'll bounce back. Now it's up to us to make sure that it doesn't happen to us as well. We need to be at our best against a very good Raith for that to happen."