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Blair Spittal targets strong end to July for Ross County after weeks of Covid troubles

Blair Spittal in action for Ross County against Hamilton.
Blair Spittal in action for Ross County against Hamilton.

Blair Spittal cannot wait to turn on the style for Ross County after a summer of disruption for the Premiership club.

The wide midfielder, who signed a one-year extension at Dingwall last month, can’t wait to get back on the pitch against Brora Rangers tonight in the Premier Sports Cup.

Covid hitting the squad forced County to forfeit matches against Forfar Athletic and Dundee, so this will be their first competitive fixture of the new term.

The cancellation of those games meant 3-0 defeats for County and they cannot now qualify from Group C, even if they beat Brora and Saturday’s visitors Montrose.

Spittal, 25, who spent the first half of last season back at his former side Partick Thistle, finished with a flourish and helped keep the Staggies in the top-flight, boosted by a last-day 2-1 win at Motherwell.

Speaking as the players shape up for Brora, he said: “I’m feeling good. We have had our isolation period and that’s done now. We’ve been in for the past five days and it has not taken a lot for us to get back to a good level, to where we were before we got hit with our Covid issues.

“The staff have done really well in terms of getting us getting us prepared and being as safe as possible. It has been really good.”

The classy midfielder explained that the player pool were knocked by the impact of the virus.

He added: “It’s not that you take it for granted, but you don’t realise the effect it will have until it’s here.

“We are all young, fit guys, yet quite a lot of the boys were struggling with it, so we’ve had to look after ourselves. I was alright, to be fair.

“The Elgin (friendly) game (at the start of July) showed how good our fitness levels were. We had put good work in for two weeks prior to that. You are building upon that to get yourselves ready for the competitive action.

“For this to happen has taken us a few steps back. The League Cup has gone for us, but we just need to use the next two games as a positive and get us into the right frame of mind for the St Johnstone game in two weeks’ time.”

Ross County manager Malky Mackay.

Spittal finally played 90 minutes… then season ended

On a personal note, spending half the season back at Firhill left Spittal with a fight on his hands to get back in the picture at County.

John Hughes, who guided the club to their safety in the Premiership, gave Spittal his chance towards the end of a high pressure campaign as he helped the club rise above Kilmarnock and Hamilton to stay up.

Blair Spittal in action for Ross County.

He said: “The season ended at the wrong time for me. I hadn’t played 90 minutes since October until the last game of the season, when I did play the full game.

“I was at a good level fitness-wise and then the season ended, albeit on a positive note which we want to build on. I’m looking forward to getting going.

“I always thought if I was given a chance to show what I could give to the team I would be able to take it. Last year was really frustrating as I never really got the chance. I had to go out on loan to prove myself and then I got injured early on.

“When the manager brought me back, I got my head down and worked hard. The chance came from that point. I put the work in myself and then had the belief from the staff and team-mates. That was good and I want to build on that and get going.”

New arrivals are shaping up well

The matches this week, Spittal feels, will help the group gel further and he believes Malky Mackay’s signings so far are fitting in well.

Ross County forward Dominic Samuel, who has come in from Gillingham, scored in the 5-0 friendly win at Elgin.

He added: “The players the manager has brought in have good experience. The likes of Jake (Vokins) and Alex (Robertson) don’t have much first-team football, but you can see early doors in training what they can bring to the team.

“Dom (Samuel) is also looking really good, so we’re looking forward to the games starting then we can build up that relationship with the boys as well.”

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