Ross County defender Liam Fontaine is hopeful of a warm reception from Hibernian supporters at Victoria Park this afternoon but won’t be distracted from the task of helping the Staggies claim three points against his former club.
Fontaine spent three-and-a-half years with the Edinburgh outfit following his move from Bristol City in 2014 and was notably part of the side that ended the club’s 114-year wait to lift the Scottish Cup with a final victory against Rangers in 2016.
Englishman Fontaine left to join the Staggies in January, having, due to an ankle injury, not played since making two Betfred Cup appearances last July.
Having been a favourite with the Easter Road faithful, Fontaine is hopeful of a warm reception today but only after his day’s work with the Staggies is done.
Fontaine said: “I left Hibs on very good terms. I left them for my career reasons, through wanting to play more regular football. I’m in contact with a lot of them still.
“I never really got to see the fans off properly, so I’m looking forward to seeing them myself.
“There are ways of acknowledging the fans on social media these days, when you leave clubs, but when you are at a club for a few years you generally see people and recognise them, so I imagine I will see a lot of the fans who followed Hibs through my four years there.
“It will be a good way to say ‘cheers’ to them but when I cross the line, of course it goes out the window.
“You play a game competitively when you are playing professionally. Obviously, my bond with the Hibs fans is great and I know every player very well, as well as the manager and the staff.
“It will be great to see them all before and after the game but during the game it is business as usual.
“We have to just try to replicate performances like Tuesday for the final six games.”
Fontaine helped County move off the bottom of the Premiership on goal difference thanks to their 4-0 victory against Partick Thistle on Tuesday and the 32-year-old is demanding more of the same in the remaining weeks of the campaign as the Staggies push for survival.
He added: “We knew the magnitude of the game and how important it was we won it.
“If we hadn’t we would have been six points adrift of them. We showed the fight we are going to need until the end of the season and got an emphatic victory.
“We are going to need that again now with the final six games. They are going to be six cup finals.”