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Michael Gardyne calls for focus in "massive" game as Ross chase top-six berth
Michael Gardyne will not have one ear glued to the Dingwall terraces on Saturday even though Ross County's top-six ambitions hang on results elsewhere.
The Staggies have suffered a hangover following their League Cup success last month, picking up just one point from the last nine available.
Now their hopes of backing up that Hampden triumph with a decent Ladbrokes Premiership finish are dangling by a thread.
After spending most of the season in the top half, Jim McIntyre's men have dropped to eighth and now need to beat seventh-placed Partick this weekend in their final game before the split while also hoping sixth-placed Dundee slip up away to Hamilton if they are to finish the campaign taking on the big guns.
But playmaker Gardyne has told his team-mates they need to forget what is happening at New Douglas Park and take care of the Jags first.
The 30-year-old said: "It's a massive game on Saturday. We know what we need to do but at the end of the day, it's not a great situation that it's no longer in our hands whether we make the top six.
"All we can do, though, is win our game and hope the Dundee match goes in our favour.
"In these type of scenarios you can sometimes get a sense of how the other games are going from the fans but I think we just need to concentrate on how we're doing against Thistle.
"There's no point in us not getting a result here and then hearing Hamilton have done us a favour down the road. So the main message is just concentrate on ourselves.
"The position we find ourselves in, especially having been in the top six all season, is not ideal but we know we should have our place in the top six nailed down already.
"It isn't and we've only got ourselves to blame. The good thing is we've got one last chance and hopefully we can do our part at the weekend."
Craig Curran (concussion) and Jackson Irvine (ankle) remain out for Ross County.
Goalkeeper Scott Fox returned to the bench last week following a knee injury while Liam Boyce overcame a broken hand to play against Dundee.
Richard Foster is fit despite going off at Dundee while Jamie Reckord is pushing for a return.
Meanwhile, Callum Booth is hoping Partick have timed their run for the Ladbrokes Premiership top six perfectly.
Victories against Hamilton and bottom side Dundee United sandwiched a goalless draw against second-bottom Kilmarnock, which the 24-year-old defender believes has ended any fears of relegation.
Six teams are still vying for three top-six places still available but Booth, who this week signed a new deal which keeps him at the club for another two seasons, is looking to nick it in Dingwall.
He said: "We have done well, we have established ourselves in the top flight and to get into the top six would be the icing on the cake. So it is a massive game.
"In the first couple of months I don't think anyone was thinking about the top six at all.
"Even recently, three or four weeks ago, we were still looking over our shoulder because the league has been that tight.
"And even at the weekend against Kilmarnock, if they had beaten us we would have only been six points ahead of them.
"So it just shows that things can quickly change and thankfully for us we are definitely looking up now.
"We are 12 points clear of Killie and have a lot better goal difference than them so it is really 13 points with six games and the way we are playing at the moment, I think we should definitely be okay now.
"We have managed to pick up seven points in the last three games and put ourselves in a really good position to finish in the top six."
Midfielder Gary Fraser and defender Freddie Frans came off in the 1-0 win over Dundee United on Tuesday night with respective knee and ankle problems and are struggling.
Forward David Amoo has an eye injury but should be fine, defender Liam Lindsay comes back into the squad following his hamstring complaint, while Stuart Bannigan remains out with a knee injury.