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County eager to keep hold of Boyce as Sinclair savours top player prize

By Andy Newport

Liam Boyce has been named Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership Player of the Month for April.

The Northern Ireland international has been on fire for Ross County this season and is second top scorer in the Premiership with 20 goals.

Boyce, who also scored 20 last season, is in a rich vein of form, having scored 15 goals in his last 23 games, including all four in a 4-0 win over Highland rivals Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Boyce was also named Player of the Month for August this season.

The former Cliftonville hero netted five goals in four league matches that month, including a hat-trick in the derby win at Inverness.

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill has argued that the 26-year-old could compete at a higher level but County chief Jim McIntyre said the club are not looking to sell their top marksman. Boyce has one year left on his contract.

"It's his job to score goals and when you score lots of goals teams may show an interest in you," McIntyre said.

"We're not looking to move Liam on. We are delighted with what he is doing here and we want him to stay as long as he possibly can."

Meanwhile, Celtic winger Scott Sinclair believes winning the PFA Scotland Player of the Year award is further evidence that his personal sacrifices through difficult times were worth it.

This time last year, Sinclair was playing his final few games for an Aston Villa side which had been relegated from the Premier League in mid-April.

His disappointing spell in the midlands had come after a big-money move from Swansea to Manchester City failed to work out, making just three starts for a team filled with expensive talents.

But a reunion with Brendan Rodgers, who coached him at Chelsea and Swansea, has rejuvenated his career and his life.

Sinclair has scored 25 goals for the Hoops, who remain unbeaten in domestic football, and is one game away from a treble after appearing in the Champions League group stages.

The 28-year-old beat strong opposition for the Player of the Year prize from team-mates Stuart Armstrong and Moussa Dembele, as well as Aberdeen winger Jonny Hayes.

And the recognition has reaffirmed his belief that hard work and resilience are the keys to success.

Sinclair said: "It goes to show, when you have gone through tough times in your career of not playing, getting relegated, I was one who was staying behind training and did things at home.

"And, looking back now, it was all worth it. If I could give any advice to young players, it would be to never give up.

"People are always going to pull you down and say you are not good enough, but the main thing is on a personal level I kept going and never gave up, and I am getting my rewards for it.

"As a professional, that's what is instilled in me. I had so many years of not playing and to get relegated, it's been so tough.

"I could have stayed down in England and enjoyed my life and had it nice and cosy. But I didn't want that. I wanted much more.

"And I think that's what I am always going to be like, always giving more, wanting to play football."

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