Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Malky Mackay hoping to improve Ross County’s record against Hearts

It's more than six years since the Staggies defeated the Tynecastle side - but the mood is upbeat ahead of the Dingwall clash.

Ross County manager Malky Mackay. Image: SNS
Ross County manager Malky Mackay. Image: SNS

Malky Mackay is confident Ross County will rise to the challenge of hosting Hearts as they seek to leapfrog them back into the top half of the Premiership.

The teams are locked level on seven points, with the Edinburgh club sitting sixth, only above the Staggies on goal difference.

They had contrasting forms in the Viaplay Cup this week. A last-gasp Alex Lowry goal in a 2-1 win at Kilmarnock took Hearts in the semis against Rangers on Tuesday.

And 24 hours later in Dingwall, County slid to a 2-1 defeat against Aberdeen in their cup quarter-final, having played most of their tie with 10 men after Jack Baldwin was sent off.

County have only ever beaten Hearts twice in 30 attempts, with their last victory in this fixture coming in March 2017 when Alex Schalk got the only goal at Tynecastle.

The Dingwall team, who lost 4-0 at Aberdeen in the league last Sunday, are looking to return to winning ways when they meet at the Global Energy Stadium this Saturday.

‘We are generally the underdogs’

Mackay reckons Ross County will be second favourites in Premiership matches most weeks, but he backs his players to trouble their visitors from Gorgie.

The Staggies boss said: “I’ve got a great respect for the other 11 teams in this league in terms of knowing that, in every game we play, we are generally the underdogs.

“I know that every one of them I look at can cause us problems and, at another point, we have caused them problems.

“There is no easy game in this league, no matter the run a team is on. That run can change in a heartbeat – injuries, suspensions, all of a sudden someone going on a goal streak. You see it regularly.

“We’re playing one of the big city clubs that has a budget five times our own.

“It would be remiss to take any of that lightly.

“Hearts are coming off the back of a great result on Tuesday night. It is business as usual.”

Dangerous duo must be matched

In their last meeting, Hearts ran out 6-1 winners at Tynecastle in April, with Lawrence Shankland’s hat-trick blowing County away.

Former Staggies favourite, Liam Boyce, is another man who will have to be watched closely this weekend, according to the County boss.

Mackay said: “We’ve got to make sure we are aware of their dangers.

Hearts star Lawrence Shankland scored three times in April’s 6-1 rout over Ross County. Image: SNS Group

“Shankland and Boyce are wily characters and very good players, along with the rest of the quality they have in their squad. Those two know where the goal is.

“At the same time, we need to make sure we challenge and expose the areas we think we can.

“They have been tight affairs up here, good games.”

Lethal Turner is hailed by Mackay

While star striker Simon Murray tops the Staggies scoring charts on nine goals this season, other players are displaying a killer touch – such as Kyle Turner, who rifled home a late spot-kick to make life tense for Aberdeen in midweek.

The former Partick Thistle player was a Mackay signing over the summer and he said those ice-cool nerves were an example of why he was brought to Dingwall.

He said: “It was good character, one of the reasons I brought Kyle in.

“I saw another lad who wants to get better, but has a presence about him, wants to take the ball under pressure, try things, wants to lead.

“It was a pressure penalty against Aberdeen and he stuck it in – as good a penalty as I have seen.

Midfielder Kyle Turner slams home his penalty for Ross County in the 2-1 Viaplay Cup defeat to Aberdeen. Image: Ross Parker/SNS Group

“I need more and more of those types of people, guys brave enough to step up for the team.

“Scoring goals from different areas of the team is something we’ve got better at this year.

“When I look around the team, I can see goals from various areas. At the start of last season, I was worried about where the goals were going to come from.

“I’m seeing more guys who, on a matchday, I think can score.

“It takes bravery in terms of puting yourself out there and bravery in terms of the physical side.”

Brophy could return to the fold

Former Kilmarnock and St Mirren striker Eamonn Brophy missed the Dons clash in midweek.

The 27-year-old, who has one goal from seven appearances this term, might be in contention to face the Jambos, but Mackay is also relaxed about his back-up options.

He said: “Eamonn took a kick when he came on against Livingston, a dead calf, but it wasn’t a pull.

Ross County’s Alex Samuel (left) competes with Aberdeen’s Stefan Gartenmann. Image: SNS Group

“We were hoping he might make it, but it was still too tender.

“We’ll see if he is available for Saturday, but that’s where we need others to step up to the plate.

“Our bench is better than last year, and Alex Samuel came on (against Aberdeen) and stepped up to the mark.”