Ross County midfielder Michael Gardyne will be sidelined for the rest of 2016 after being ruled out for four weeks with a hamstring strain.
Gardyne suffered the injury midway through the second half of the Staggies’ 2-1 victory against Aberdeen on Saturday. He had a scan on Wednesday which revealed the extent of the damage.
The 30-year-old will miss County’s next three games, including tonight’s tussle against Partick Thistle, but could return for the Scottish Cup encounter with Dundee United on January 21.
Despite Gardyne’s absence, County manager Jim McIntyre will not rush back fellow wide midfielder Chris Burke, who is recovering from a viral infection.
McIntyre will take caution over Burke’s return and said: “He came back in on Monday. He did a bit of work on Tuesday and came through it fine. It’s just going to be small increments.”
Partick are bottom of the Premiership and without a win in seven games but McIntyre knows how quickly fortunes can change.
The Staggies had been at the foot of the table after a poor run of 10 matches without a victory before a 4-2 win against St Johnstone in November started a six-match unbeaten run which has catapulted the Dingwall men into the Premiership top six.
McIntyre said: “Thistle have been so unlucky and remind us of ourselves when we couldn’t find a win from anywhere.
“I thought they should have won at Tynecastle. They had glorious opportunities and these are the fine margins. Win that and they were off the bottom.
“There’s nothing between the teams from fourth down, it’s just a team that puts consistency together that will give themselves a bit of breathing space. None of us have done that so far.
“We know we’re playing against a team where the game will be tight. The game could have gone either way last time and we’ve got to bring the type of performance we’ve had of late. We’ve got every chance of winning.”
High winds are forecast at Dingwall during tonight’s match and McIntyre says his side must adapt to the testing conditions, adding: “They’re talking about 70 to 90mph winds, which will be farcical if it’s that bad. Conditions like that are difficult in trying to carry out any sort of game plan. But if we know bad weather is coming, we’ve got to try adjust for it. It’s a bit of a lottery.”