Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell insists the Staggies will again be punished in tonight’s Highland derby if they produce a repeat performance of their weekend loss to Alloa Athletic.
County went down 1-0 against the bottom-of-the-table Wasps at Recreation Park on Saturday, missing the opportunity to move five points clear of Dundee United at the top of the Championship.
The Dingwall men are looking to regain their five-point lead over United, ahead of the two clubs’ encounter at Victoria Park on Friday, but Kettlewell says his side must improve on their performance they showed in their surprise defeat to Alloa.
Kettlewell said: “It probably just confirmed everything we thought – there isn’t going to be an easy game in the run-in.
“We know we can play better, particularly in the first 30-35 minutes of the game. We never felt we got up to speed.
“There’s frustrations within that. There were ways we felt we could negotiate the game, but it didn’t come to fruition because of things we did.
“We feel we have to get off to a better start – that’s ultimately where the shortcoming is.
“We know there’s going to probably be another seven of them over the course of the season.
“I don’t actually think the games against Caley Thistle and Dundee United coming up makes it much winning more difficult than any other side in the league.
“There’s so much to play for.”
County will be without Keith Watson, while Michael Gardyne is also an injury doubt, with Kettlewell adding: “There will have to be one or two adjustments. Keith Watson looks like he has taken a nasty injury, which is disappointing.
“Something seems to have been displaced in his knee, maybe a loose body of some sort. We don’t know if it is cartilage or a bone fragment.
“We have to wait until it settles down but he’s definitely out of the game, we know that much. We just have to wait and see if it is a longer-term absence.
“Michael Gardyne took a sore one on his ankle. Credit to him, as always, he never wants to come off the pitch and continued to play.”