Ross County striker Alex Schalk has said his friendship with former team-mate Kenny van der Weg will be the last thing on his mind when the pair square up against each other on Saturday.
The Dutch duo are close friends having come through the ranks at NAC Breda together and were reunited when full back van der Weg arrived at Dingwall in 2016.
Van der Weg left the Staggies in January and signed with relegation rivals Hamilton Accies and has been quick to make his feelings known to Schalk about how he sees his new team’s trip to Victoria Park unfolding.
Schalk said: “It’s been going back and forth between us about Saturday. We’re good pals, we’ve known each other for years and we were sharing a place here as well.
“Getting to play against Kenny will be nice but there are no friends when the whistle goes, whether he’s playing or not.
“We’ve been up against each other in a relegation battle before in Holland. I was with Go Ahead and he was with Breda.
“We won that game at home but they won the other one when they were at home and we both ended up getting relegated at the end of the season, so let’s not go there.
“In Holland three can get relegated and here a maximum of two, let’s hope Hamilton is one of them and not us.”
County have been struggling and sit four points adrift of second-bottom Partick Thistle but Schalk, 25, has been in fine form, with five goals from his last five appearances.
He would love to continue his purple patch in front of goal but admits he’d happily swap it if it meant grabbing some points for new co-managers Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson.
“As a striker you just try to score in every game,” Schalk said. “I’m scoring goals now and I hope to continue because scoring the 3-2 against Kilmarnock doesn’t get us any points on the board so I’d rather save that for Hamilton.”
County’s players have spoken of the positive atmosphere around the club since Kettlewell and Ferguson were handed the reins until the end of the season after Owen Coyle left the club and Schalk is desperate to help the pair get their first win.
He added: “You always have to give a new manager time but there isn’t really any.
“We’re training with a lot of really good ideas that we want to implement into our game but short-term it’s about points, that’s the main thing.”