Ross County V Kilmarnock at Victoria Park : Match Preview

29 March 2013 07:31
Ross County V Kilmarnock - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Brittain issues warning

Skipper Richard Brittain has warned against taking the foot off the gas now that Ross County are within touching distance of nailing a place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League top six.

The Highlanders have exceeded all expectations in their first season in the top-flight after winning the Irn-Bru First Division championship last term.

As well as securing their SPL status ahead of next season, County sit fourth in the table after an impressive run of results.

Now, as they prepare to host Kilmarnock, Brittain is keen to ensure they clinch a top six spot and avoid slipping down the placings ahead of the split.

He said: "We always knew we had quality in the squad. It was just getting one or two breaks along the way and we've had that.

"You look at where that has carried us but we've put in a lot of hard work since the end of last season.

"The work isn't done yet. There is still a lot of football to be played and a lot of things to play for.

"It's a fantastic achievement for the club to stay up in the SPL first and foremost. That was our aim at the start of the season and we've done that.

"Now it's just a case of seeing how far we can go. Being so close to the top six, the boys want to achieve that.

"If we can do it in our first season in the SPL it will be a fantastic achievement."

Kilmarnock head into the clash in Dingwall in eighth position and refusing to rule out a late push for the top six themselves.

Brittain added: "They need to win the game and we want to win the game. We try to win every game that we can. It should be an interesting match."

Ross County have proved to be particularly difficult to overcome at home.

But, having suffered defeat to Killie the last time the clubs met, Brittain is taking nothing for granted.

The midfielder said: "It's another hard game for us. They have shown this season that they are a very good side.

"The last time we played them, they beat us 3-0 convincingly down at their place.

"They've brought in some quality players in the January window.

"Kris Boyd is the all-time leading scorer in the SPL and his record speaks for itself.

"But we're confident, if we do the basics right and work hard, that we'll be fine."

County are without the injured Ivan Sproule and suspended Stuart Kettlewell but captain Richard Brittain returns after a ban.

Kris Boyd hopes he can catch the eye of Gordon Strachan and resurrect his Scotland career if he impresses for Kilmarnock between now and the end of the season.

The striker is back at his former club and aiming to reclaim the form that saw him become the SPL's record goalscorer while at Rangers.

He has not featured for the national team since a 2-1 win over Liechtenstein in September 2010.

But Boyd, 29, insists he still has plenty to offer once he rediscovers his form at domestic level.

He said: "I need to get back playing here at Kilmarnock and scoring goals. Gordon has said in the last couple of days that he wants to mix experience with youth.

"Hopefully I'm in that age group between 28 and 32 and I am experienced enough.

"I've tasted it, I've played with Scotland on numerous occasions and scored goals at that level. I know I can do it.

"It's a matter of getting myself fit again. You don't lose anything you've got ability-wise, it`s just working on the fitness.

"Between now and the end of the season, hopefully I can get the games and start scoring goals regularly again."

Boyd was signed by Strachan at Middlesbrough and has no doubts about the Scotland boss' ability to transform the fortunes of the national team.

The World Cup qualifying campaign was all but over when he replaced Craig Levein at the helm and defeats to Wales and Serbia have since sealed the Scots' fate.

Boyd added: "He's a great guy. He brings an enthusiasm that the whole Scottish game needs at this moment.

"This campaign is finished but he will have us in good shape going forward.

"It's down to the players. I include myself because I've been part of the Scotland set-up in the past and it's us who are going on to the pitch and not getting the results.

"You can only change managers so often. At the end of the day, it lies with the players."

Kilmarnock are without the suspended Paul Heffernan while Cillian Sheridan is doubtful.

Lack of options up front could see Boyd handed his first start.

He said: "If I play I will give it my all."

Source: PA