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Malky Mackay aims to showcase Ross County’s strengths against Celtic

Malky Mackay.
Malky Mackay.

Malky Mackay says the visit of Celtic gives Ross County the opportunity to underline their credentials as a force to be reckoned with.

The Staggies face a difficult test in attempting to get off the mark for the campaign, having opened with a 2-1 loss to Hearts at Tynecastle last weekend.

Ange Postecoglou’s Hoops are the reigning Premiership champions, and travel to the Highlands on the back of a 33-match unbeaten league run.

Mackay has been impressed by the impact the Australian has made since arriving in Glasgow last summer.

With the Staggies having broken into the top-six last season, Mackay wants his side to stand tall against the best side in the country.

He said: “We could see from Celtic against Aberdeen at the weekend, it is more of the same as last year.

“It’s a very distinct style they’ve got, which is something we aspire to here.

Ross County manager Malky Mackay.

“I know it is going to be a really tough game for us, but I want us to play against the best teams.

“Yes, we are a small team in the Highlands. We know where we are budget-wise in this league.

“But it is my job to ensure we have a cause and a journey here to make sure we have one of the best teams in Scotland.

“Last year we proved we were one of the best teams in this country.”

New faces should embrace capacity Dingwall crowd

Mackay has made 10 signings during another summer of transition at Dingwall.

The Staggies’ new arrivals will have their first taste of a sell-out crowd at Victoria Park this weekend.

Mackay hopes the home crowd can play their part, adding: “Over a period of time last season, to see this stadium here full, with TV, press and the pitch in fine shape was terrific last year.

Ross County fans in the Jail End at Victoria Park.

“The fans were able to embrace the team after they got back into the ground. They got to know the players, and get behind them for the first time.

“We were able to go on an unbeaten run for a period of time and it will be good for our current players to get in here and embrace that.”

Akio and Samuel the Staggies’ only absentees

Mackay expects to have the same squad available as last weekend, with William Akio sidelined for up to six weeks with a knee injury.

William Akio made his Ross County debut against East Fife.

The Staggies boss added: “It’s the same group.

“William Akio has got a knock, and he’s going to be out for a few weeks.

“Other than him and Alex Samuel – who is a long term injury – everyone is fit and available.

“It’s a real scrap to get in the team and get on the bench.”

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