Ross County on a high going to Tynecastle as they prepare to face Hearts in Edinburgh
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Yan Dhanda reckons Ross County have every reason to go to Tynecastle this weekend full of confidence after a successful Premier Sports Cup group stage.
The Staggies won their group with 11 points out of 12, including a 7–0 demolition of East Fife last weekend to seal their spot in the next round.
For that, County have been rewarded with a home draw against Celtic in the next round, but first they will get their Premiership campaign up and running away at Hearts on Saturday.
Getting the chance to get into a winning habit in competitive matches so soon after returning for pre-season has been a new challenge for Dhanda, but he is pleased with the momentum that has been built and wants to take that into the capital.
“It’s different for me,” the former West Bromwich Albion, Liverpool and Swansea City midfielder explained.
“I was actually saying to Victor (Loturi) before East Fife that we have to remember it’s not a friendly.
“It was actually a competitive game, and I think it’s great.
“I’ve played four games already for Ross County, I’ve felt fitter and fitter and Saturday was the best I’ve felt out of all the games I’ve played.
“Now we just have to build on this going to Tynecastle next week full of confidence.”
It may be easy for Premiership rivals to dismiss the win over East Fife as being against lower league opposition, but there was a sharpness to County’s attack that bodes well for the campaign ahead.
Dhanda agreed that it was a step up from their previous group games, and says the work now goes into replicating that performance.
“We had to give ourselves time,” Dhanda reasoned.
“We’ve got a lot of new signings, so we’re not just going to gel straight away.
“The way the lads have welcomed us in helps, and obviously you saw that it’s clicking on the pitch.
“It really works, so it gives us confidence going into next week, and we have to try our best and hopefully play like that again. Who knows, anything can happen.”
County exceeded expectations last season with a top-half finish, and the battle will be to emulate that this time around.
“What the team did last year was incredible for Ross County to finish in the top six,” Dhanda added.
“I think we have to try and build on that. That’s what everyone wants, that’s what we’ve spoken about, and every day in training we try and link it to matches.
“We’ll get ready for Tynecastle, and hopefully we can get three points to really show what we’re going to be about this season.”