Ross County V Hearts at Victoria Park : Match Preview

20 September 2013 06:31
Ross County V Hearts - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Kettlewell has confidence in County

Stuart Kettlewell is confident Ross County will find their form once their refurbished squad gels together.

The Dingwall side finished fifth in their first season in the top flight but after a big turnaround in their playing staff over the summer, they have struggled since the start of the campaign.

A 4-2 defeat at home to Dundee United last week left them with just four points from six games and sitting in ninth place.

However, the 29-year-old midfielder, looking forward to the home Scottish Premiership clash with Hearts on Saturday, is confident that they will soon be back on track.

He said: "We would have hoped for a better start than what we have had but I am more than confident with the group of players here that we can go on a good unbeaten run and move ourselves up this division.

"We have had a couple of good performances this season but when players get used to how each other play, I am pretty sure that the boys who came in are going to make a big impact.

"I know we have been together for a couple of months now but sometimes these things take time.

"We started off with a few draws last season and there were a couple of defeats in there as well.

"We came good in January but you can come good at any point and one good win could set us to maybe going on a run of picking up points."

Hearts began the season with a 15-point deduction and with a registration embargo for entering administration but have reduced that to minus eight.

Kettlewell has seen enough spirit and determination of the youthful Hearts side to believe they will be a threat but the former Queen's Park and Clyde player is looking for County to have learned lessons from last week's 4-2 defeat to United.

He said: "Hearts have made a good start to the season with a young hungry side.

"Their financial troubles are well documented and that possibly, has inadvertently given them a lift.

"But we have taken the positive from Dundee United last week and we feel we could have had a couple of more goals than we did.

"We have been working on a few things and hopefully we will get a positive result."

County are without striker Orhan Mustafi for the Scottish Premiership clash against Hearts, with the on-loan Grasshoppers striker having suffered a broken toe which is expected to keep him out for three to four weeks.

Hearts teenager Jordan McGhee believes his game is already benefiting from the opportunities thrust upon him because of the club's financial crisis.

The 17-year-old headed the winner against Aberdeen last month on his second first-team appearance after being brought on at right-back when 20-year-old Kevin McHattie was sent off.

With McHattie and captain Danny Wilson suspended, McGhee started his first game at the following week against Inverness and was soon making his debut for Scotland Under-21s, earning praise from coach Billy Stark despite a 4-0 European qualifying defeat in Holland.

With manager Gary Locke having only two outfield players aged over 21 - Jamie Hamill and the currently injured Ryan Stevenson - McGhee and his young team-mates have been handed the task of helping Hearts overhaul a 15-point penalty for going into administration.

And McGhee, speaking ahead of the Scottish Premiership clash with Ross County, said: "It's different class being given the opportunities I have had so far.

"Players like Hamill, Stevenson and Danny Wilson and last season Webby (Andy Webster) have helped me gain experience in training and helped me get better.

"But it's great getting the opportunities I probably wouldn't have had if the club wasn't in the situation it is in.

"I was just concentrating on doing well for the under-20s and having a good solid season for them but obviously the gaffer has given me the call to train with the first team and get playing experience.

"It has helped me already, getting picked to play for Scotland. I got a message saying I was picked for the under-19s and a few days later I got a phone call telling me I was going away with the 21s.

"It's an honour playing for your country at any age group but the 21s is a different level, especially playing in a qualifier against Holland."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
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