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Ross County have to fight for chance of Rangers result

By Andrew Henderson

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Stuart Kettlewell believes Ross County cannot afford to sit back and admire Rangers when they come up to Dingwall tomorrow evening, or else they risk suffering the same fate as they did at Celtic Park.

County showed fighting spirit to claw back a draw from 2-0 down at Hibernian.

It was an encouraging response after capitulating against Celtic the week before, when the Staggies lost 6-0 at Parkhead.

Brian Graham got Ross County's comeback at Hibernian off the ground with a 74th minute goal. Picture: Andy Barr
Brian Graham got Ross County's comeback at Hibernian off the ground with a 74th minute goal. Picture: Andy Barr

So Kettlewell is looking for more of the same determination to avoid a similar outcome against the league leaders’ fierce rivals.

“We have to make it as uncomfortable as we possibly can,” the Ross County co-manager said.

“We have to be competitive in the game first and foremost, make contact all over the pitch, and we believe we’re a better team when we do that.

“We’ve said that to the players all week, when we’re matching up in areas of the pitch, we believe that’s when we get the opportunity to play and score goals, as we did later in the game at the weekend.

“That gives us the best possible chance, what we don’t want is our team to stand back and admire what Rangers are doing on Wednesday. We felt we did that at Parkhead, as good as Celtic were, we need to make sure we have an effect on the game.

“We have to channel them somewhere they don’t wan to be, we have to break up the phases of play that they have in their minds, and only by doing that do you give yourselves a chance in these games.”

Ross Stewart is County’s only doubt, with the striker to be assessed after missing the draw against Hibs last Saturday with a foot injury.

It will be only Rangers’ seventh ever trip to Victoria Park, so Kettlewell wants to make sure a capacity crowd is on hand to add to the occasion.

“The atmosphere playing against the big teams with a full stadium here can be a big advantage to us,” he said.

“It will be a huge task, a difficult task, but it has to be one that you relish. I said that before the Celtic game, and we let ourselves down.

“So this is another opportunity to go and make up for that.

“It’s a brilliant occasion to welcome Rangers to Dingwall and have a full house.

“The pitch is looking fantastic, what’s not to like as a player?

“We have to go in really buoyant and have a belief in ourselves to go and enjoy a brilliant fixture for this football club.”

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