Kilmarnock boss Tommy Wright has accused Ross County counterpart John Hughes of trying to influence referees.
Wright also brushed aside comments from Hughes on Killie ahead of the team’s Scottish Premiership relegation battle.
County travel to Ayrshire with a one-point advantage over their hosts and Hughes claimed the pressure was on Kilmarnock because they were at home.
“I don’t really listen to John too much because he probably talks too much,” Wright said. “Our focus has been on ourselves. Maybe he should focus on his team.”
County recently beat Killie 3-2 in Dingwall during a three-game run when Hughes felt his team had conceded penalties that should never have been given.
The former Hibernian boss this week claimed inexperienced referees get Premiership games involving the smaller clubs as he welcomed the appointment of Willie Collum to Saturday’s Rugby Park clash.
Wright said: “It’s maybe referees that have caused Ross County to be where they are. I think he is maybe trying to influence referees. But we will concentrate on our own team.”
The former St Johnstone boss has seen that approach bear fruit in recent games with his team having scored four goals in each of their past two games against Motherwell and Stenhousemuir, half of them netted by Kyle Lafferty.
“I have seen a progression since I came in, I have seen a level of performance get better and better,” Wright said.
“In the last two games we have finished teams off and been ruthless, so I have seen a marked improvement and we have to continue that run.
“Kyle has given us a real focal point up there and players have responded. He brings people into play, he is a finisher, so that has been a big help for us, and the other players have fed off that.”
Wright has also praised Lafferty’s influence off the park and full-back Brandon Haunstrup gave an insight into how the Northern Ireland international has lightened the mood.
“He likes joking about, you can’t really turn your back on him because you know he is going to be up to something,” Haunstrup said.
“It’s good for the lads, even something as little as you don’t know what’s going to be in the shampoo bottle in the showers. You have to keep your eyes open.
“Every goal scored at the moment we are celebrating as a team and that’s four in the last two games. We just want to keep that winning feeling and goalscoring feeling. Obviously we had lacked that so we just want to keep that up.”