Ross County V Hearts at Victoria Park : Match Preview

By
09 February 2016
Ross County V Hearts - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Jim McIntyre braces Ross County for Hearts test

Ross County manager Jim McIntyre does not expect Hearts to be suffering from derby-day drain when they visit Dingwall on Wednesday night.

The Jambos lost a two-goal lead against Edinburgh rivals Hibernian to draw 2-2 in their pulsating William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round tie at Tynecastle on Sunday.

Paul Hanlon's injury-time equaliser means the clubs will have to do it all again in a replay next week for the right to host holders Inverness in the quarter-finals.

Asked if there could be a Hearts hangover when they travel north for Ladbrokes Premiership duty, McIntyre said: "No, I think Hearts have shown this season that they are able to cope with big matches that come thick and fast and we fully expect them to be coming here in confident spirits.

"They have been on a good run of form but so have we, so it is up to us to try to take the game to them and try to get our first victory over them this season.

"It is great to have them back in the league, they are a fantastically supported club and that is the type of team you want to test yourself against."

County had some cup trouble of their own before they overcame Junior side Linlithgow Rose 4-2 to set up a home cup quarter-final meeting with Premiership bottom side Dundee United.

McIntyre insists his side, who will play Hibernian in next month's League Cup final at Hampden Park, are thriving on the high-pressure games.

He said: "These games are never easy. We just need to look at the other ties over the weekend, it was their (Linlithgow's) cup final but we managed to score four goals and won the game.

"You are always disappointed when you don't play to the levels you expect but having said that the boys have got the job done and that is the most important thing.

"Games are all about winning and it is important you remember that.

"When you are winning matches and playing in high-profile games and getting good results then you look forward to every game.

"We are coming into a period of games now that is really crucial and there are plenty of them as well so we need to make sure we get the balance of rest and recovery right between games."

Craig Curran remains unavailable for the Staggies due to the effects of a long-term concussion problem and joins defender Scott Boyd (calf) on the sidelines.

New signing David Goodwillie is in the squad after being cup-tied at the weekend.

Hearts travel to the Global Energy Stadium without the suspended defenders Blazej Augustyn and Igor Rossi while skipper Alim Ozturk is a doubt after limping out of Sunday's Edinburgh derby draw with a knee injury.

That could hand recent recruit John Souttar his first appearance in maroon since moving from Dundee United.

Manager Robbie Neilson said: "He has played a lot of games for Dundee United this season so he's fit and ready.

"He's a player that, yes, we have brought in to develop but we also want him to play first-team games and he will definitely have an involvement between now and the end of the season.

"He's got all the technical ability but he just needs a bit of work on the basics. If we can get him there we will have a top-quality player on our hands."

County are flying high in the Ladbrokes Premiership, as well as having that League Cup final to look forward to, and Neilson admits he is impressed.

"Never mind manager of the year, Jim should be a contender for manager of the decade the way he has turned things around at County," said the Jambos head coach.

"He has gone from being bottom of the league 12 months ago to now sitting fourth, pushing for third and in the League Cup final.

"It's been a great turnaround. I expect them to be top six, so it will be a tough test for us tomorrow."


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