ABERDEEN manager Derek McInnes is wary of struggling Ross County ahead of the Staggies’ visit to Pittodrie in the Scottish Premiership tomorrow.
Derek Adams’ side went down 2-0 at home to Hibernian on Thursday to leave them without a win in nine games and still second-bottom of the table with only 11 points. While bottom side Hearts – who were docked 15 points and banned from signing players after descending into administration – look sure to be relegated, the Dingwall club are staring at a relegation play-off place. However, McInnes, whose side’s good run of form came to an end with a 1-0 defeat at home to Motherwell, is aware that County’s last three points came in a 1-0 home win against the Dons in October.
He said: “Ross County have been struggling to get any sort of result this season. They signed a lot of players in the summer so it might take a bit longer for them to settle, that might happen in the second half of the season. But they are always competitive and I expect that to be the case on Sunday. Their poor run has to stop sometime – we are just hoping it is not at our place.”
Ross County midfielder Stuart Kettlewell is aiming for a repeat of their last meeting with Aberdeen when the sides go head-to-head. A Rocco Quinn goal was enough to secure the three points for County against the Dons at the Global Energy Stadium in October.
The Highlanders have endured a difficult spell since that victory, losing every game other than a draw against bottom side Hearts last month. But Kettlewell believes drawing first blood at Pittodrie could make all the difference as they bid to end a winless streak stretching back nine games.
He said: “In recent weeks it’s been difficult because we seem to be losing the first goal. It’s up to us to see if we can score the first goal and that gives us a base to hold onto. We did that against Aberdeen here. We got the first goal and we were able to hold onto that.We looked good that day and we look to see what we can do against them on Sunday.”
High-flying Aberdeen endured a Boxing Day blip against Motherwell but otherwise appear to have been rejuvenated under McInnes’ stewardship this term. They are one of several teams pushing for ‘best of the rest’ status behind leaders Celtic, but Kettlewell believes County must show faith in their own ability.
He said: “Aberdeen are doing very well. But we’ve got a good record against them over the past season and a half and we draw on the positives from that. We know it won’t be easy but we’ve got to go into the game feeling confident and believe in ourselves and hopefully we can get a result out of it.”
Despite preparing to face one of the stronger squads in the top division, Kettlewell believes the Dingwall outfit do have players good enough to cause their hosts problems.
He said: “When you look at teams like Dundee United and Aberdeen, they do have strength in depth. We’ve got to see if we can challenge ourselves to stand up to it. I believe we’ve got good players as well.”