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Spittal not fazed by bookies’ pessimism over Ross County staying up

By Alasdair Fraser

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BLAIR Spittal couldn’t care less if the bookmakers and pundits write Ross County as relegation favourites – just like they did with Hamilton Accies last year.

Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness. Ross County(2) v Hamilton(1). 12.05.21. Ross County's Blair Spittal celebrates his goal.
Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness. Ross County(2) v Hamilton(1). 12.05.21. Ross County's Blair Spittal celebrates his goal.

The Staggies midfielder’s only focus is on getting off to a flyer in the Premiership under Malky Mackay.

Spittal bounced back from spells out of favour, out on loan at Partick Thistle and up on the treatment table to make a huge impression late on in County’s successful escape act under John Hughes.

With Covid issues easing, the Dingwall team will play their last League Cup group tie at home to Montrose this weekend.

Looking to take a last pre-season lift before hosting St Johnstone in next Saturday’s league opener, Spittal shrugged off his team’s status as joint or out-and-out favourites for the drop.

The 25-year-old said: “Folk will always tend to look at us as a much smaller club compared to the likes of Rangers, Celtic and Aberdeen.

“We are always going to have to prove people wrong, but as players and staff I think it’s important that we don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff.

“I’ve certainly not heard that mentioned among the players.

“We’re just looking forward to the season starting and if we can catch people by surprise, we certainly hope to do that.”

Montrose, at Victoria Park, will provide only the third pre-league 90 minutes for Mackay’s men after games against Elgin City and Brora Rangers.

Spittal is naturally eager to hit the ground running against last season’s double cup winners St Johnstone in a vital Premiership opener.

He stressed: “St Johnstone took a while to get going last year, but they are a great example of what a smaller club can achieve in Scotland.

“I think they’ve said it was the League Cup run which got their season up and running. They went from strength to strength, so it just shows you what can happen.

“We have got a tough start to the (league) season, but we will have to play all these teams at some point.

“We just need to make sure we have a good start then see where it takes us.”

Spittal admits the Covid-19 outbreak that tore through the club, and led to cancellation of matches against Forfar and Dundee, took a toll on the players.

But he added: “I’m feeling good. We have had our isolation period and that’s done now.

“We’ve been back in for almost a week and it has not taken a lot for us to get back to a good level and where we were before we got hit with our Covid issues. The staff have done really well in terms of getting us prepared and as safe as possible.”

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