Motherwell face a huge test in Dingwall on Wednesday. Can Graham Alexander get his first win and see his team leapfrog Ross County?
There may be more than a third of the league season still to run but this fixture has all the hallmarks of a relegation dogfight. Both teams suffered horrible runs as the old year drew to a close and managers paid the price.
John Hughes was appointed to the Highland job a few days before Christmas and the couple of wins from seven attempts has lifted spirits. Of greatest note was the 4-1 win against Aberdeen.
Motherwell installed Alexander a week into the new year and he has yet to see a ‘Well win. Two draws and a loss at Pittodrie have him in the play-off place, a point behind County.
Harry Smith, newly acquired from Northampton, showed enough on his half hour spell against Aberdeen to suggest he can deliver a strong physical presence and offer an alternative attacking option. He may get another opportunity on Wednesday.
Earlier meetings have gone with home advantage. A Ross Stewart penalty decided the opening match of the campaign while Motherwell enjoyed a 4-0 home win in October.
Jermaine Hylton has become a regular starter for Ross County since his move from Motherwell at the end of the transfer window. He scored his first of the season against Aberdeen.
This is a game Motherwell cannot afford to lose and the affair may be won by determination rather than by silky skills. The bookies have the visitors as favourites but a draw may be the best investment; 1-1.