Ross County boss Jim McIntyre has backed Liam Boyce to continue delivering the goods this season – and with it boost his Euro 2016 prospects.
Boyce has forced his way into Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill’s plans following a blistering season with the Staggies.
The 24-year-old striker has bagged 17 goals already this term, including five in five games during December which earned the former Cliftonville star the Scottish Premiership Player of the Month.
Only Celtic hitman Leigh Griffiths and Aberdeen forward Adam Rooney have scored more this season, highlighting the impact Boyce is making at County.
Club manager McIntyre has hailed the progress made by the Northern Ireland striker –and believes there is more to come from the Euro 2016 hopeful.
“I think the Euros is a big carrot for Liam for the remainder of the season, and I am sure that will benefit Ross County,” McIntyre said.
“He has scored 17 goals in 24 games which is a fantastic return, and he has had plenty of assists as well. He is a key player for us.
“He’s done fantastically well for the club. When he first arrived we couldn’t play him regularly because of fitness levels, but he bought into the sports science part of things and he is in great condition now.
“He is a boy who is very conscientious of his gym work and maintaining that peak condition. I think that’s why he has scored so many goals and is now in the Northern Ireland squad.”
McIntyre believes Boyce’s Euro prospects will prosper if he continues delivering the goods for County.
“He has to keep getting on the scoresheet regularly. He is a clever player who can spot a pass as well, and he is playing in an attacking team,” McIntyre said.
“His key strengths are finding space in the box, and when he does that he generally scores. I think the big thing he has changed his whole body shape. He has always had ability, and the fitness levels he now has means he can play and be a threat for 90 minutes.
“He deserves all the credit. It is one thing us saying for him to get in better condition, it is another for the player to go away and do it.”