Johnston calls for fans' backing
Kilmarnock manager Allan Johnston has urged those fans who attend this weekend's game against Ross County to throw their full backing behind his beleaguered side.
Killie are the only team in the Scottish Premiership who are still without a win so far this season and Johnston knows games against County and bottom side Hearts could be crucial over the next couple of weeks.
But, despite the club's current predicament, the stands at Rugby Park are unlikely to be packed out for such an important double-header.
A section of the support have been staging protests against chairman Michael Johnston's running of the Ayrshire outfit, including staying away from home matches.
But boss Johnston wants those who do show up to make their presence felt on the day.
He said: "It makes a massive difference as a player when the fans are behind you and it's positive stuff.
"Hopefully that transmits to the performances on the park. One result could change everything. Football is all about confidence and, once you start winning games, it completely changes the picture."
Johnston believes the international break came at the right time for Kilmarnock.
"It probably was a good time to regroup and work on some of the things where we have been going wrong," he said. "Hopefully we can make an improvement this week. The players are all desperate to get a result.
"They have been really bubbly for the last couple of weeks, even when the results haven't gone our way, and they are desperate to make amends."
Johnston previously described the next two games as "cup finals" and his view has not changed.
He said: "Every game between now and the end of the season is going to be massive for us, none more so than the next two games.
"With the situation we have found ourselves in, every game is going to be a big game.
"We know how hard a task it's going to be this weekend.
"Ross County are a physical team, they are always well organised, and we know it's going to be difficult."
Kilmarnock have a slight doubt over the fitness of Sammy Clingan.
Clingan returned from international duty with Northern Ireland with a knock but Johnston hopes he will be passed fit for the weekend action.
Johnston has no other injury concerns for the visit of the Highlanders.
Ross County manager Derek Adams is confident he has enough defensive cover after allowing Grant Munro to quit the club.
The 33-year-old centre-back left County this week to pursue a career outside of the game after realising he would be back-up to Scott Boyd and Brian McLean.
Munro had made six starts this season but Adams is content with his options at the back.
Adams, whose team face Scottish Premiership strugglers Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday, said: "We have got good cover in that area.
"We have Steven Saunders, Brian McLean, (Branislav) Micic and Boyd, and (Mihael) Kovacevic and Ben Gordon as well. So we have good cover in the back four at this time.
"It was a difficult decision for Grant. You want to play football all the time.
"He has been given the opportunity to try to progress with a job elsewhere outside football. He has got another 30 years to work and he wants to get that done sooner rather than later."
County travel to Kilmarnock full of confidence after beating Aberdeen before the international break.
But Adams knows they will need to utilise that positivity against a side battling for their first win of the season.
"In the last six games we have taken 10 points, that's up with the top teams in the league," Adams said.
"We are happy with the progress we are making. We would like to go to Rugby Park and win the match and add to our points total.
"We know how difficult it's going to be, we know the situation Kilmarnock are in and we are fully aware of what we have to do to try to win on Saturday.
"They have got a vastly experienced squad - (Manuel) Pascali in the middle of the park, Barry Nicholson, Kris Boyd, Darren Barr at the back, Craig Samson who has been in the Scotland squad, and James Fowler.
"They are not short of experience.
"But I think the confidence we have shown in the last few weeks is definitely going to help us."
Orhan Mustafi is set to return to the Ross County squad after recovering from a broken toe.
But fellow forward Alex Cooper is a doubt with the knock that has kept him sidelined in recent weeks.