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Height of ambition for Ngoo is a title challenge

Allan Johnston will likely have acknowledged privately that it would be a tall order for his Kilmarnock side to stay up this season without Kris Boyd in attack.

 Michael Ngoo will offer a greater aerial presence in the Kilmarnock attack after the tall Englishman signed for the club on a two-year deal. Picture: SNS
Michael Ngoo will offer a greater aerial presence in the Kilmarnock attack after the tall Englishman signed for the club on a two-year deal. Picture: SNS

The manager has reacted simply: he ordered someone tall.

Michael Ngoo completed his move to the Rugby Park club yesterday by signing a two-year contract. The 6ft 6ins striker was seen squeezing himself into a seat in the main stand to watch his new side in a match with Aberdeen on Wednesday but it is how the Englishman measures up on the pitch this season which will matter most. Kilmarnock have played twice in the league so far and have scored only from a set piece.

They will miss Boyd - a striker who scored 22 goals last season - but have acquired a striker with the dimensions to fill the void. Ngoo was released by Liverpool this summer having spent his formative years at the Anfield club, while he has also gained first-team experience during spells on loan at Walsall, Yeovil Town and Hearts. It was at Tynecastle that he met Gary Locke, now assistant manager at Kilmarnock.

"It is good to be back in Scottish football and I'm looking forward to the future," said Ngoo, who could make his debut against Ross County today. "It is a new chapter for me. I am looking to bring goals and compete for the league. I don't see any reason why this bunch of players, including myself, can't compete for the league. If we beat every other team, then it's down to Celtic, if that makes sense.

"I watched them [Kilmarnock] play against Aberdeen and there wasn't much in the game so I believe that if everyone works hard, I don't see any reason why we can't [challenge]. You can't go into something thinking we will settle for less."

Johnston was delighted to capture Ngoo, who scored five goals during his six-month loan spell at Tynecastle last year. "He is a big presence, he did well with Hearts and we are expecting him to play a big part in our team this year," said the Kilmarnock manager.

County will hope that league points will be a prominent feature of their side this afternoon. The Dingwall side have still to earn their first league points of the new campaign but Derek Adams has put defeats by both St Johnstone and Partick Thistle in context.

"We lost scrappy goals [against Thistle] and didn't take chances when they came along," said the County manager, who has released long-serving midfielder Stewart Kettlewell. "For large spells we were controlling it up until half-time, and doing relatively well. We just have to dust ourselves down and get going for Saturday.

"Scott Fox [the Thistle goalkeeper] had a magnificent save from Jake Jervis and Alan Mannus [the St Johnstone goalkeeper] made two magnificent saves from Graham Carey last weekend and then let one through his legs on Wednesday. We're not getting a break in front of goal but the squad's looking good. When we get going, we have always shown how good we can be."

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