Ross County attacker Michael Gardyne reckons he is in the best form of his career after his goal set the Staggies on their way to a 2-1 victory against Kilmarnock on Saturday.
Gardyne’s 23rd minute opener was followed up by Craig Curran’s fourth goal in five games in a dominant County display which should have brought further goals prior to Lee Ashcroft’s late consolation for the visitors.
The result was County’s fifth win in six matches, moving Jim McIntyre’s side seven points clear of bottom-placed St Mirren.
Gardyne’s goal was his fourth in 19 appearances since he joined the Staggies for a third time, on loan from Dundee United last summer.
Gardyne is uncertain what the future holds, with his Tangerines contract up in the summer, but the 29-year-old is savouring the challenge of helping the Staggies remain in the Premiership.
Gardyne said: “I never got a chance at the club I was at before, so to come here has been great.
“I was out injured with a broken rib, but the manager has put me back in and shown a bit of confidence in me.
“He has given me a chance to be consistent and that’s what happens when I’m playing every week. I’ve taken the challenge on board.
“People say players are in their peak years at 28 or 29 and Saturday was one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played, not just for myself but for the team performance.
“I’m just concentrating on playing well every week.
“The manager here has shown a bit of faith in me and told me to go and play my own game. That’s what I’m doing.
“I’d imagine the rest will take care of itself if we do the business on the pitch.”
County were under pressure to deliver a result against Killie, with 11th-placed Motherwell having drawn level on points with Friday’s emphatic 4-0 win against Hamilton Accies.
However Gardyne’s is more concerned about catching ninth-placed Partick Thistle, rather than worrying about the teams below the Staggies.
Gardyne added: “Avoiding the play-offs is the goal for us – we’re trying not to look behind us.
“With the way we’re playing now, we want to try to look at the teams above us and that means Partick.
“We’re trying to get away from the bottom of the league and with performances like the one on Saturday hopefully we can do it.
“It was a great win for Motherwell on Friday night and Partick won 1-0 against Caley Thistle as well, so it seems the teams down there are handling the pressure.
“We knew what Motherwell had done but put on a show.”