Ross County V Kilmarnock at Victoria Park : Match Preview

10 March 2017
Ross County V Kilmarnock - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Michael Gardyne warns Ross County team-mates of Kris Boyd threat

Ross County forward Michael Gardyne believes his former strike partner Kris Boyd will never lose his eye for goal.

And Gardyne has warned his team-mates they will have to repeat the performance that earned them a clean sheet and three points against Hearts in their last outing when they host Boyd's Kilmarnock on Saturday.

The 33-year-old former Rangers striker hit his 200th top-flight goal in Scotland last weekend, although he later missed a penalty against Motherwell.

But County know all about his danger after Boyd netted a quick-fire opener when the teams last met at Rugby Park.

Gardyne had a loan spell at Kilmarnock during the 2013/14 season and he relished playing up front alongside the Scotland international.

"I enjoyed it down there," the 31-year-old said. "I played off Kris Boyd in the hole so it doesn't get much better than that. We had a good partnership, he scored 22 goals that season.

"He'll always have that eye for goal, he's just one of those players. He's scored the most goals in SPL history or whatever, he's always going to be that thorn in anybody's side.

"And he showed that the last time in 10 seconds. He scored last week too, so I think he's always going to be like that and we'll need to make sure we defend like we did at Tynecastle."

Staggies manager Jim McIntyre will assess a number of doubts ahead of the game. Defender Jay McEveley (knee) went off against Hearts, while Paul Quinn has been struggling with a hamstring problem. Midfielders Christopher Routis (hamstring), Ian McShane (groin) and Chris Burke (illness) are also likely to miss out again.

Midfielder Sean Longstaff feels his loan spell at Kilmarnock is providing the perfect competitive environment to prepare for his ambition of making the Newcastle first team.

The 19-year-old has scored two goals in seven appearances for Killie, who are four points off the top six and six above bottom club Inverness.

Longstaff arrived at Rugby Park with St James' Park team-mates Freddie Woodman and Cal Roberts and has been impressed with the standard in Scotland's top flight.

Longstaff said: "I have really enjoyed it. I have been pleasantly surprised by the standard. At home you hear some not so good things about the Scottish league, but me, Cal and Freddie have been talking about it and said it's really competitive every week.

"It's obviously much more competitive than the games we normally play in the reserves in England. Every game means something and it's a battle every week.

"It's my first loan spell, so it's a pretty good place to start, the top flight in Scotland, and Kilmarnock have been great with all of us.

"In England in the 23s it's not that big a deal, as long as you play well. But up here it's all about winning. People are playing for bonuses and stuff that helps their family. It's the competitiveness of playing real games in front of real fans in proper stadiums.

"Obviously when there are 52,000 every week at Newcastle it can be a bit daunting, so for us it's perfect to come up to Scotland and play in front of crowds and get that first step on the ladder to get into the Newcastle first team."

Kilmarnock captain Stevie Smith (hip) remains on the sidelines, while midfielders Gary Dicker and Rory McKenzie are both suspended. Greg Kiltie played for the Under-20s in midweek after five months out with a hamstring injury but is not ready for the first team. Dapo Kayode (hamstring) remains out.