Ross Stewart is still learning with Ross County in the Premiership
HE HAS hit eight goals already this season, but Ross Stewart insists he still wears a Premiership ‘L’ plate.
But the highly-rated Ross County is loving every minute of his first top-flight season.
The 23-year-old ex-St Mirren and Albion Rovers striker opted out of the Buddies Premiership return 18 months ago after fearing he’d be a bit part player.
The gamble paid off, though, with a starring part in County’s Championship title success, leading him into the top division a year later.
Already, Stewart has caught the eye with powerful performances at some of the country’s top grounds and Aberdeen’s visit today is a prospect he relishes.
Every big game, he insists, represents a learning curve.
Stewart said: “As each game goes by, I’m picking up more and more experience playing at this level.
“It is my first time in the Premiership and I’m really enjoying it. I’m still learning the game at this level.
“I’ve played in all different positions across the frontline, as well as in different systems, which is helping develop me as well. I’m really enjoying that challenge and enjoying the league.
“Hopefully I can keep doing well, keep contributing to the team and to our performances.
“As a striker, you always want to be scoring goals stepping up a level into this league I was intrigued to see how I would get on.
“I got a few goals early on, which helped me settled and helped the confidence build.
“I’m just really enjoying it and looking forward to the games ahead, including another big one against Aberdeen.”
Stewart, though, knows he can’t dine on early season goals forever. He hasn’t hit the net in five games, while others have grasped the goalscoring mantle.
Brian Graham keeps netting from the bench, while Billy Mckay broke a dry run in last weekend’s draw with Hamilton Accies.
On top of that, Lee Erwin is finally fit to relaunch his career in Dingwall and helped create Mckay’s goal in his first start last weekend.
Stewart said: “I knew when I first came here, and with players added this summer as well, there’s a lot of competition at the club.
“It’s not just the strikers, but right across the team – there’s a really strong squad here.
“That is reflected in the team changing by a couple of bodies every week.
“You need to be playing well to hold down your position in the team and that can only be a good thing for us.
“Lee came in on Saturday and did really well. Brian has been coming off the bench and scoring. Billy got a goal again on Saturday.
“From the strikers’ point of view, it is good we’re all playing well. There’s goals in the team and hopefully on Saturday we can get a few more.”
The Dons won 3-0 against County at Pittodrie and Stewart would love to avenge that frustrating day.
He said: “We never gave as good an account of ourselves as we’d have liked. Aberdeen ran out comfortable winners.
“We’ve got to look to put that right, being back home after a few games on the road.
“There wasn’t a huge amount in it, but on the day Aberdeen took their chances well and played the conditions well with it not being a great day.
With us being at home, we can hopefully impose ourselves on the game more than what we did at Pittodrie.
“Hopefully, when the chances fall to us we can take them.
“We’ve not won in a few games, so hopefully we can get the three points.
“Aberdeen are a really well set up team. Derek McInnes has them playing really well and back winning games.
“It is going to be a really tough challenge.
“We’ve got to know when to defend and when to attack and be set up to frustrate them at times, because they’re going to have the ball for spells.
“At the same time, when we have the ball we have to try to play a bit and be brave and try to play a bit as well to create chances for ourselves.
“Hopefully it will be a good game for everyone who comes along and we can find a way tp send our fans home the happier.”