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Match preview: Ross County kick off 2021 with Premiership fixture against St Johnstone in Dingwall


By Andrew Henderson

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Ross County ended 2020 in style with a 2–0 victory away at Hibernian thanks to goals from Harry Paton and Oli Shaw, and they will looking to continue that momentum into the new year.

John Hughes has spoken constantly of positivity since taking over the reins at the Global Energy Stadium, and claiming three points for the first time in over three months was a nice way to inject some optimism into the Staggies camp.

County will need to make sure that it is no false dawn though, especially after failing to capitalise on their Betfred Cup shock over Celtic, so the hard work starts again this afternoon against St Johnstone.

Team News

Ross County: Josh Reid and Ross Draper are available again after serving their suspensions and missing the trip to Edinburgh on Wednesday, while Jason Naismith could finally make his second debut for the Staggies with the registration window open once again.

Ross Stewart may also come back into contention after sitting out the win at Hibs, with his hamstring issue not as bad as first feared.

Callum Morris also missed the visit to Easter Road, and so is a question mark, while Michael Gardyne and Tom Grivosti are further away from comebacks.

Ross County's new signing Jason Naismith at training in Dingwall this week ahead of Saturday’s home match against St. Johnstone. Pictures: Ken Macpherson
Ross County's new signing Jason Naismith at training in Dingwall this week ahead of Saturday’s home match against St. Johnstone. Pictures: Ken Macpherson

St Johnstone: Callum Hendry is available again for the Perth outfit after serving his own suspension midweek.

Scott Tanser missed the match too after picking up an injury early on in last weekend's trip to Aberdeen, and he is unlikely to return this afternoon.

Recent form

Ross County: won 2–0 away at Hibernian, lost 2–0 at home against St Mirren, lost 2–0 away at Celtic, lost 2–0 at home against Hamilton, lost 2–0 away at Aberdeen.

St Johnstone: drew 0–0 at home against Hamilton, lost 2–1 away at Aberdeen, lost 3–0 at home against Rangers, lost 3–2 away at St Mirren, drew 1–1 away at Dunfermline (3–4 on penalties).

Head-to-head (all competitions)

Ross County 12

Draws 22

St Johnstone 20

Last five meetings

St Johnstone 0–1 Ross County – Premiership, Saturday, September 19, 2020

Ross County 1–1 St Johnstone – Premiership, Saturday, February 15, 2020

St Johnstone 1–1 Ross County – Premiership, Sunday, December 29, 2019

Ross County 2–2 St Johnstone – Premiership, Saturday, October 5, 2019

St Johnstone 1–2 Ross County – League Cup, Sunday, July 21, 2019

Ones to watch

Harry Paton is a valuable presence on the pitch with his energetic displays, but wants to add more goals and assists to his game.
Harry Paton is a valuable presence on the pitch with his energetic displays, but wants to add more goals and assists to his game.

Ross County: Harry Paton – the Canadian midfielder has been one of the few constants in the team this season, and he really can serve as the heartbeat for this Staggies squad going forward.

He has spoken about wanting to improve his goals and assists tally, so getting the scoring under way against Hibernian will have been especially pleasing for him.

All involved will be hoping that moment can spark a sustained run of contributing in front of goal, and the 22-year-old himself will want to back that up at the first possible opportunity.

St Johnstone: Stevie May – the former Aberdeen forward has gotten a new lease of life since signing for the Saints last season, already reaching double figures in all competitions in 2020/21.

He has proven to be a thorn in County's side too, scoring twice in the three Premiership meetings between the teams last season, and with the Staggies defence being notoriously leaky over the last 18 months they will need to pay close attention to May's movement.


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