Ross County attacker Alex Schalk is looking forward to renewing his rivalry with Dundee United defender Gavin Gunning this afternoon.
The Dutch attacker had an altercation on the pitch with his United opponent in his side’s 3-0 league defeat last weekend, but the former Go Ahead Eagles man is determined to show he can handle the rough and tumble of Scottish football when United visit Victoria Park today in the Scottish Cup quarter-final.
Schalk said: “When I had the little thing going on he (Gavin Gunning) said to me ‘I wanted you to get sent off – we need the points’.
“That’s what he said on the pitch right after the incident. He was laughing about it.
“That’s the way they’re going to play every game from now on, obviously, because they need to make up eight points still.
“I would do the same if I was in that position.
“I have to learn that. They will try everything and I need to stay focused.
“We need to match up that enthusiasm. If we can, we can definitely win the game.”
County bounced back from their surprise loss to the Tangerines by strengthening hopes of claiming a top six place with a 2-0 win at Kilmarnock on Tuesday.
Schalk, who scored the first goal at Rugby Park, hopes his side can reproduce that display today and secure a place in the semi-final.
He said: “We can leave the league to one side now and focus on the cup.
“This is massive – a quarter-final. We want to go on and reach another semi-final and definitely avenge last week. We want to show it was just a bad day at the office.
“We will look to make amends and show them we’re the better side.
“We learn from every game, especially with analysis after the game. Saturday was different. The pitch wasn’t great and as the bottom of the table team they fought hard for every ball and tried everything they could.
“We couldn’t pass the ball like we wanted to. That’s going to be the same on Saturday, so we’ll be ready for that.”
The County players will be playing for a place in next weekend’s League Cup final team, but Schalk is not giving any thought to Sunday’s game against Hibernian at Hampden.
He said: “We’re not thinking about that. We have to move that on to next week. This week, it is all about Dundee United.
“On Tuesday we had a great result. We enjoyed that but it’s gone and it is on to Saturday, a quarter-final. We need to perform and get through to another semi-final.
“After that, we can start talking about the cup final, which is obviously fantastic.”