Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes has backed winger Jordan Jones to fill the void left by the suspended Danny Armstrong.
Jones scored a superb late winner in a 1-0 Scottish Cup win over Dumbarton – his first of the season – to break the resistance of the impressive Sons, who defended bravely while also creating some golden chances of their own.
The Northern Ireland international has found himself in and out of the side since returning to Rugby Park on loan from Wigan in the summer.
But he may now have a vital part to play in Saturday’s crunch match against Ross County, with top scorer Armstrong suspended after his red card against Rangers.
McInnes said: “It was a brilliant finish from Jordan and it needed that moment of real quality to separate the teams.
“I’m really pleased for him. He came on and gave us life, impetus and was really positive – no more so than with the goal.
“It’s not an easy finish as it’s coming out of the air a long time and he has to watch it and make a good connection.
“There’s defining moments for players and it’s important for any player to work hard and show perseverance. But we also need quality and that’s why we’ve brought Jordan here.
“We wanted pace, more creativity and Jordan can bring both of those. He made the difference today and I’m really pleased for him. He will go home feeling good about himself.
“Danny is suspended and he’s been our go-to guy this season. You talk about stats – Danny’s assists and goals have been terrific. There’s no doubt we’re going to miss a player who has been in such good form.
“It’s good for Jordan to get himself on the scoresheet and feeling good about himself.”