Match Preview - Motherwell (A)
It’s a quick turnaround for us Staggies in getting ready for another Premiership fixture in what is turning out to be a packed schedule for Derek Adams and his players.
Tuesday sees another trip down the A9 – this time around to take on Motherwell in Lanarkshire with a 7:45 PM kick-off.
Under Ross County favourite Stuart Kettlewell, The Steelmen have been a very strong team.Initially being appointed as an important figure within Motherwell's youth set-up, Kettlewell was asked to take the team on an interim basis after the sacking of Stevie Hamill.
The claret and amber side quickly hit a run of form leading to Kettlewell’s permanent appointment – his first managerial role since he left us at Ross County.
As well as strong start to this season where they picked up three wins, including victories over Kilmarnock, Hibernian, and Hearts, Kettlewell’s side is on a very good run of form.
They have picked up 22 points this season but are unbeaten in their last five matches – including wins over Livingston and Alloa in the Scottish Cup.
The ‘Well will be eager to continue form against us.
Motherwell have continued to operate in Kettlewell’s preferred back three system, providing them much solidity. They have scored 27 goals this season, whilst conceding 36.
Fresh off the back of a 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock, this match provides Stuart Kettlewell with a much-needed chance to grab a win against his former club.
Player to Watch
Thelonius Bair has had quite a turnaround in Scottish football. From being a cast away in Perth at St Johnstone, he has flipped the narrative surrounding him on his head under Stuart Kettlewell.
The big Canadian striker has slammed home five goals in his last four matches, taking his tally to seven for the season.
Bair is one of those strikers who would be called as being able to do it all, so he definitely poses a threat to our Staggie defence.
Following an upturn in performances over the past two weeks, Ross County have unfortunately still not managed to find that elusive win.
A positive perfromace for the most part against St Johnstone wasn’t enough to take any points.
We currently sit in 11th place with a huge opportunity to go closer to catching Motherwell above us.
Another match in quick succession means its one again an opportunity to right a growing list of wrongs.
Player to Watch
Jordan White has been a crucial figure in Dingwall over the past three years and reminded Adams of his goalscoring knack when he grabbed a late winner vs St Mirren.
Jordan got onto the end of a James Brown corner and headed home to win the match.
His presence at the top end of the park against a sizable Motherwell trio of central defenders could be key.
If White starts, his match-up versus Bevis Mugabi could be an interesting battle to keep an eye out for.
From The Dugout - By Roy Templeton
It's often said that stats don't lie but anyone watching Saturday's match against St Johnstone might disagree with that sentiment.
With 63% possession for County, 12 attempts on goal to 7 (5 on target against 2), and 8 corners to St Johnstone's 4, you could be forgiven for looking twice at the final scoreline.
But manager Derek Adams knows it's goals that count - and on Saturday one clinical finish was enough to make the difference between three points and none.
"We played pretty well, created chances and drove forward whenever we could - but as one of my former managers used to say, that matters not a jot if you don't get the ball in the net," said Adams.
Similarly to the two previous games against Celtic and Livingston, Staggies had their openings but again failed to capitalise on them.
"We had five good chances and didn't take any of them while St Johnstone had two and took one. We helped them get their goal and they then defended well to win the game.
"As a manager that gets you frustrated and annoyed and I'm no different, but we just didn't quite have the quality to get what we deserved from the game," he said.
Now the midweek trip to Motherwell is just the latest so-called six pointer against a team just a few points ahead in the bottom half of the league.
"All our games now are big ones, " concedes Adams, who must be hoping some of the chances his team are creating finally get converted.
"We tried ever so hard in our last few games, but unfortunately we just aren't getting the breaks our play deserves at the moment."
Motherwell would be an appropriate place to show some steely resolve and start taking just a few of the chances being created.
In this season's earlier match, it was a thrilling 3-3 draw at Fir Park in which Motherwell capitalised on late errors by the Staggies.
Our goalscoring prowess was in full flow under Malky Mackay that day, with Victor Loturi, Simon Murray and Eamonn Brophy all grabbing goals.
We struggled against Kettlewell’s side last season – picking up just one point from three fixtures. However, in other matches, we have seen plenty of success.
A midweek fixture in Malky’s first season saw a 1-0 win and three points for Ross County to bring home up the road courtesy of a Joseph Hungbo penalty.
A victory which sticks in the memory against ‘Well from back in 2015 is a 3-0 victory in Dingwall. Craig Curran, Liam Boyce, and a young Tony Dingwall netted for us on that occasion.
Despite picking up wins, it must be said our overall record facing Motherwell isn’t the strongest – having picked up 12 wins in 40 meetings.
We cruised home in the last meeting in a 3-0 win in Dingwall, with Yan Dhanda scoring a beauty in the process – more of the same please!
That is something Derek and the players will be looking to change – and hopefully that comes true on Tuesday.
Some huge names in Dingwall have played for both the Staggies and the Steelmen, including player and First Division winning manager Derek Adams.
A former Ross County captain has also played for ‘Well – Iain Vigurs moved south after successfully making the step up to the topflight with ourselves.
There are two players who have crossed over and are currently at their respective clubs, and they also very recently played together in Dingwall. John Hughes signed current forward Jordan White from Motherwell, whilst Blair Spittal left the Highlands for Lanarkshire last summer.
Ross Callachan, Scott Allardice, Ryan Leak, Jack Baldwin and Dylan Smith are out.
*County fans will be situated in the North end of the Phil O’Donnel Stand
*Tickets available on match day from Motherwell ticket office - kiosks take cash and card*