If Derek Adams looked on his Clydesdale Bank Premier League Manager of the Month as an individual accolade yesterday then it was only a fleeting moment of selfishness.

It was not long before the Ross County manager was outlining what it meant for the club and his squad, players whom Adams has led to ninth place in the league table and 15 points above tonight's opponents Dundee.

It was a speech typical of any top-flight manager who has won a similar award but there is some encouragement to take from that. Competing in their first season in the Premier League, County could not have been sure how they would cope – with perhaps many at the club quietly bracing themselves for a relegation tussle with Dundee. The sight of Adams posing with an award earned by a run of two wins from three fixtures in January would have been comforting, then.

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Yet for all that Adams insisted that his shiny new trophy – the second he has picked up this term – reflected the sterling effort of his squad, it also alerted him to what was creeping up behind him. Dundee have struggled this season but have found a new zest for life in the top flight after a thumping win over Morton in the William Hill Scottish Cup last weekend. The gap between the clubs has become vast but the Dens Park side would seem intent on landing a few punches on their way back down into the Irn-Bru first division.

"It is a good opportunity for us going into Friday night's game," said Adams, who could be without the injured Branislav Micic and Ivan Sproule tonight. "We can possibly move joint with [sixth-place] Aberdeen on points and move further away from the bottom.

"But Dundee will be saying the same – it is an opportunity for them to close the gap on St Mirren. Every team will have a spell in the season where they do well. We just want to take something from the game on Friday night.

"I'm sure there are a few teams who feel they are safe, but I feel Dundee are a side who have added the likes of Gary Harkins, who can do a very good job for them. They have come off a really good result against Morton, winning 5-1, and that will give them confidence. There are a good number of teams who are definitely not safe."

It is safe enough to suggest that County probably are, though. There is a sense of contentment around the club following such a mature start to life in the top flight and that was perhaps best shown by the quiet night Iain Vigurs enjoyed on transfer deadline day. The County midfielder has been a leading figure for his side this season, so much so that he was linked to a number of last-minute moves away from Dingwall last month; one internet forum even hosting a discussion over rumours the 24-year-old was off to Tottenham Hotspur.

"Everything that was said in the transfer window was just rumour and speculation," said Vigurs. "I was just chilling on the couch waiting to see what happened with other transfers. I'm happy to play football here. I'm not really bothered with anything else at the moment, to be honest.

"My brother said someone had me down at White Hart Lane . . . I was like 'What? Was I delivering something?' It is funny. I'll just concentrate on this season."