Motherwell welcome Ross County to Fir Park on Saturday, as the Steelmen look to build on three consecutive wins.
The weekend’s visitors recently returned to the Ladbrokes Premiership, winning the Championship last campaign.
The story so far
Having topped the second tier last season with a five-point advantage over Dundee United, County have made a solid start to life back in the top flight.
With seven points from their first five matches, a streetwise squad have taken the step up in their stride.
They have plenty Premiership experience in their ranks. Marcus Fraser, Liam Fontaine, Richard Foster, Ross Draper, Michael Gardyne, Iain Vigurs and Billy McKay are well accustomed to the level, with added youth in Celtic loanee Ewan Henderson making them a formidable outfit.
Home wins over Hamilton Academical and St Mirren have provided the basis of their points so far, while a 0-0 draw at Hearts demonstrated their ability on the road.
Defeats so far came in a heavy 4-1 home loss to Livingston and a 3-0 defeat at Aberdeen, while a Betfred Cup exit came in the second round at Partick Thistle after extra time.
How they shaped up last time
In their 2-1 win at St Mirren last time out, managers Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell made three changes from the team that had lost 3-0 at Aberdeen previous.
Liam Fontaine, Ewan Henderson and Harry Paton came in for Callum Morris, Tom Grivosti and Josh Mullin.
Marcus Fraser’s injury-time winner got the Staggies the points, after his first strike was cancelled out by Tony Andreu.
Three to watch
Ross County captain Marcus Fraser has played a pivotal role at the heart of the Staggies defence since arriving from Celtic in 2015.
The 25-year-old has racked up 175 appearances for the Highlanders and enjoyed his most successful season of his career to date when he captained the side to the Championship title and IRN-BRU Cup in 2018/19.
Fraser’s ability to find a long pass from defence has been an impressive part of his game so far this season and he currently leads the way in the Scottish Premiership when it comes to long pass accuracy. He has completed 63.89% of his long passes – Declan Gallagher is second with 60.61%.
After enduring a frustrating time with Motherwell, Joe Chalmers was able to kick start his career during two seasons with Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
In his new role as a central midfielder, Chalmers flourished for Caley, making 96 appearances and played a key role in their run to the last four of the Scottish Cup and the Championship play-offs.
After making the trip across the Kessock bridge in the summer to join Ross County on a two-year deal, the 25-year-old got off to a flying start when he swept home the opening goal in the 3-0 victory over Hamilton.
Ross Stewart has demonstrated his abilities to make the step up to the top flight of Scottish football in the early stages of the new season.
Following on from grabbing a brace in wins over Montrose and Brechin in the Betfred Cup, he opened his Premiership account as County began their first campaign back in the top flight in style with a 3-0 triumph over Hamilton, before adding a consolation against Livingston and the opener in the win at home to St Mirren.
Stewart endeared himself to County fans with three goals against Inverness last season and he may also be a name familiar to some Motherwell fans, having scored both of the goals in the 2-1 victory over the ‘Well Colts side at Fir Park in November last year.
What they said
“Motherwell have been flying,” striker Ross Stewart said. “We know how good a team they are.
“We will get them watched and be well aware of the task in the hand.
“But we’ve got to try and build on our performances. We had a good win last week and we go down there with a belief we can get the result.
“Our home form is going to be vital for us this season. But if we can pick up points at tough places like Motherwell on Saturday, it will go a long way to where we want to be.”
Out injured: Don Cowie
Doubtful: Iain Vigurs, Lewis Spence, Lee Erwin.