Ross County midfielder Michael Gardyne is eager to get points on board early in the season to ensure the Staggies avoid another end-of-season sweat.
County have taken four points from their first four games and travel to Ayrshire today looking for their first away win of the season against Kilmarnock, who they defeated on both trips to Rugby Park last term.
The Dingwall side looked to be in relegation trouble after winning just two of their opening 24 league matches last season but went on an impressive run of 10 wins from their last 14 matches to secure their safety.
The previous season, County also avoided a relegation play-off with a 1-0 home victory against Hibernian on the penultimate day of the campaign.
Gardyne is determined to avoid such drama this time around and said: “It’s a big game early in the season. We want to get as many points on the board as possible early on.
“After how tight it was towards the end of last season, we know these matches can be crucial later in the season.
“Especially given last year, when we took seven or eight games to pick up anything, it’s good to get points on the board.
“We still think we could have done better in the first four games – against Hearts and St Johnstone, especially. But we’ve got four points and we’re looking to build on that on Saturday.”
The Staggies boast a fine recent record against Kilmarnock, losing just one of their last six matches against the Ayrshire outfit.
Gardyne spent a season on loan with Killie two seasons ago, during his time with Dundee United but, having returned to Victoria Park for a fourth spell at County in the summer, the 29-year-old is keen to shoot down his former club.
Gardyne added: “I enjoy going back to Killie. We’ve done well in the past at Killie and we’ll be looking to continue on that. They have a revamped squad and so do we.”
During his time at Rugby Park, Gardyne played alongside attacker Kris Boyd, who returned for a third spell with Killie in the summer.
Gardyne warned the Staggies defence to be alert to Boyd’s threat, adding: “Kris was great to play alongside and I learned a lot from him in that spell. I’m sure he will do well this season. He’s looking to play every week and I’m sure he will get that at Kilmarnock.”