Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell feels Billy Mckay has been rewarded for his determination to get back on the goal trail.
Mckay has netted five goals in his last four games to take his tally for the season to 11, making him the Staggies’ joint leading scorer with Ross Stewart who could return for tomorrow night’s trip to Motherwell following two months out with a hamstring injury.
After netting in the opening day Premiership victory over Hamilton Accies following a prolific Betfred Cup campaign, Mckay found goals hard to come by and netted just once in the subsequent six months.
Kettlewell feels Mckay’s recent form is the result of the former Caley Thistle attacker’s persistence during his sticky spell, and he said: “Billy’s work-rate is fantastic. It’s probably a lesson to a lot of people, and strikers in particular.
“I read something about him scoring one goal in six months, but we watch him every day out on the pitch, working on his finishing after games, and taking part as a brilliant pro within training sessions.
“You are not going to get back on the scoresheet and go on some sort of run by feeling sorry for yourself, and doing less work.
“You increase your workload, and keep doing the things that have served you well all your career, and hopefully he can build on these five goals in four games between now and the next 10 games.
“That’s a brilliant message for some of the young strikers we have here. He’s a guy that gets himself on the pitch every day for training sessions, and puts his name forward to play on a Saturday. He gets his just rewards.”
Mckay netted 20 goals during County’s Championship-winning campaign last term, and Kettlewell says he and fellow co-manager Steven Ferguson always had faith the 31-year-old could maintain that form.
He added: “We have been doing this job roughly two years to the day. If you look at the records and the team-lines in that period of time, Billy has generally played for us.
“We know what he’s about, and we know we can trust him. We know he’s a big-moment player, who will come up with the goods in big occasions.
“He wears number nine on his back for a reason – he’s the guy that puts the ball in the back of the net.”
County have won on their last three trips to Fir Park ahead of tomorrow’s game against the Steelmen, who are without a win in their last eight games, however Kettlewell added: “It doesn’t give us any right to go down there and win again.
“It gives us confidence, given that we’ve been able to win there this season and last season in the cup as well.
“That flips on its head. Motherwell will be saying they won’t want to be beaten by Ross County on two occasions at home.”