First meets second in the Scottish Championship as Ross County host Ayr United in Dingwall. With promotion the aim for both clubs, this is a huge six pointer at the top of the table. Should Ayr fail to come away with three points, they fall eight points behind their hosts who could make it 11 should they win their game in hand.

The visitors that must get a result

The Honest Men have the best away record in the division so must be feeling optimistic ahead of their meeting against County. The exact same record for wins, draws and losses with both their hosts and Dundee United sees Ayr pip the duo on goal difference. It is certainly tight at the top.

Lawrence Shankland celebrates his fourth and Ayr’s fifth in a resounding 5-0 win away at promotion rivals Dundee United at Tannadice in November. (photo by David Young/Action Plus via Getty Images)

The obvious danger man is Lawrence Shankland. The league’s top scorer has hit the back of the net 20 times this season in 25 matches. Half of his team’s goals is frankly ludicrous. A goal every 97 minutes is bonkers and he has near enough a goal per game the club.

However, Ian McCall’s side are in a poor run of form with four defeats in their last eight. Only two wins in that time is a concern but they still remain in contention for automatic promotion.


The hosts that could near enough seal the deal

As for the Staggies, they appeared to get over their Scottish Cup defeat on penalties to rivals Inverness with a resounding 4-2 victory at Firhill. From 2-0 down, they turned the game on its head with a superb second half showing against Partick Thistle.

In fact, under Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell, County have won their last three league games. Form wise, they’re also sitting pretty with 16 points from their last eight matches. Having lost just twice in that time and being the hosts for Ayr, a tough test awaits the Honest Men.

Billy McKay managed just two Premiership goals last season as Ross County were relegated. (Photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

County also boast one of the league’s top goalscorers in Billy McKay. The Northern Irishman has scored 14 times for the Staggies this season, contributing to just under a third of their goals (43).

Potential circumstances and previous meetings

Ayr can cut the gap to two points with a win despite County having a game in hand on them. Should they lose, they’d have a mountain to climb in order to win the Championship.

The Staggies also have the upper hand in the fixture, winning 2-1 in Dingwall in October before a thrilling 3-3 draw at Somerset Park in December.

Ian McCall’s side are looking to replicate Livingston’s achievements by sealing consecutive promotions. (photo by David Young/Action Plus via Getty Images)

It promises to be a cracker with County favourites if form and home advantage are anything to go by. Don’t be surprised if Ayr pull it out the bag though, they’ll feel they have to if they want to go up automatically.

The Honest Men are so unpredictable. Not many would have fancied them to be in this position. Having already emphatically won at Dundee United this season, they won’t give up if they can get a result in Dingwall.

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