Hearts keeper Jon McLaughlin not facing trip into unknown

Hearts keeper Jon McLaughlin has not visited Dingwall before but has been doing some background research on Ross County. Picture: SNS
Hearts keeper Jon McLaughlin has not visited Dingwall before but has been doing some background research on Ross County. Picture: SNS
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Jon McLaughlin has not been to Dingwall before but he does know others who have.

That means the goalkeeper has some idea of what he will face this afternoon as Hearts travel to face Ross County – their last match outside Edinburgh until 23 December.

As well as everything he has heard from former colleagues, Jackson Irvine, who he played with at Burton, and ex-Bradford defender Andrew Davies, the Tynecastle keeper has also tapped into some family trips.

“I know a little bit,” he said. “My dad actually worked up there a while back and I think he went to a few games. He was just up there doing construction work so he got to know the place a bit. That would have been seven or eight years ago.

“My brother Andy was also at the RAF base up at Kinloss for quite a while and him and a few of the boys went to games when they were lower down the leagues. So, I’ve been getting my intel from all sorts of angles, but it might not be up to date! We’ll just need to see when we get up there.”

He says the fact Davies opted to leave the English leagues for the Highland club and has stayed for a couple of years suggests something worthwhile is keeping him there.

“Having played in the lower leagues in England, you get plenty of these fixtures where it doesn’t matter where you play or who you play against, they are always going to be difficult fixtures,” he added. “Teams know all about you and you need to put in your best performance to win.

“We’re certainly not taking anything for granted, especially after our recent run of results. We need to go up there and put on a real good show before we come back here for some difficult fixtures.”

Set-piece blunders cost Hearts in their last outing at Dundee, but with some harsh words exchanged afterwards, he says the players are aiming to get back to winning ways.

“Sometimes you just need to let off a bit of steam,” he said. “It was a kick up the backside.”

Owen Coyle, meanwhile, has urged his County players to carry on the momentum and claim an elusive home victory.

Coyle led County to three points at Kilmarnock in his first match in charge but they have gone six games without victory in Dingwall. Coyle said: “Coming off a great level of performance and three points against Kilmarnock, we want that to continue. We have an opportunity on Saturday to go out and get to that same level of performance and look to get that valuable home win.”