THE calculations for squeezing into the last remaining qualifying spot for the Europa League roll off Derek Adams' tongue as though he has been chewing them over all season.

That would seem unlikely since he has only been a practising Clydesdale Bank Premier League manager since August, although his club stand just two points adrift of fourth place with only three fixtures left in the season.

One of them is against champions Celtic on Sunday afternoon. It is the sort of occasion which County will need to rise to if they are to overhaul both Inverness Caledonian Thistle and St Johnstone, but it is also one which the Highland side have proven to be adept at. Celtic's last visit to Dingwall ended in a 3-2 defeat and added another week to their wait to claim the championship.

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County can ill afford to be that patient if they are to claim the last European place, though, with Adams willing to accept that his side will also need a favour from second-place Motherwell if they are to make up the deficit. The Fir Park side take on Inverness tomorrow.

"I think Inverness [in third] are in a fantastic position," said the County manager. "If we are to put them under any pressure we would have to win two of our last three games. We would also need Inverness to possibly just take a point from their last three games.

"It could still go down to the final derby on the last day of the season and it would be fantastic to have a Highland derby that is being fought out for a European place. But I think we will have to take something from Celtic and hope Inverness lose against Motherwell. It is unbelievable how difficult the last three games are."

The game with Celtic could prove easier than first thought, though, since the Parkhead side rested a number of regular players in a defeat by Motherwell last weekend. Yet Adams is not taking similarly vulnerable display for granted on Sunday.

"Celtic will be refreshed," he said. "They will be looking to finish the season strongly but, listen, they will not enjoy coming to Dingwall. It is not easy for Celtic going away from home as the pressure is not as intense as it would be if Rangers or another team was putting pressure on them."