Ross County 2-0 Saints
Match Reports

Ross County 2-0 Saints

12th August 2023

Ross County 2-0 Saints

Saints were comfortably beaten 2-0 by Ross County in Dingwall this afternoon.

The hosts started the brighter of the two sides and Dimitar Mitov was called upon to deny Simon Murray, Jordan White and Ryan Leak in the early stages.

Saints best chance of the half came on 15 minutes as Dan Phillips saw his effort from 20 yards palmed away by Ross Laidlaw.

County took the lead with 5 minutes of the first half remaining as Kyle Turner took advantage of slack defending by Sam McClelland before slotting a low strike beyond Mitov.

The Staggies doubled their lead on 51 minutes as Connor Randall curled home a strike from 20 yards.

Saints had chances to get back in the match as Taylor Steven came close twice within a couple of minutes of coming on as a substitute whilst Ryan McGowan saw his effort cleared off the line by Josh Sims.

Saints are back in action in a fortnight when they make the trip to Glasgow to take on Celtic, kick off 3pm.


Dingwall was the destination for Saints this afternoon for their first away league game of the season. Saints lost their opening game of the season 2-0 at home to Hearts last Saturday and Steven MacLean was forced to make two changes to his starting eleven this afternoon as Andy Considine and Matt Smith both came in to replace the injured Tony Gallacher and Drey Wright. There was also a place on the bench for new goalkeeper Dave Richards who joined Saints this week on a season-long loan from Crewe Alexandra. Ross County lost 4-2 at Celtic last weekend and manager Malky MacKay made one change to his side for this afternoons match as new signing Ryan Leak came in to replace Will Nightingale.  

Yan Dhanda got the match underway for the hosts and County created the first chance of the match on 4 minutes. A long ball forward was headed on by Simon Murray which played in Josh Sims who was in on goal however, Oludare Olufunwa did well to get back and clear the danger.

On 10 minutes Jordan White won the hosts a free kick after he had been fouled by Liam Gordon. Dhanda played a free kick out wide to James Brown on the right and the defender then sent over an inviting cross into the box which Murray headed wide of the target. The Staggies forward then got a great chance to give the hosts the lead 2 minutes later as he was clean through on goal however, Dimitar Mitov was out quick to deny the former Queen’s Park forward.

Saints tried to create an opening on 13 minutes as Dan Phillips sent over a dangerous ball into the County box from the right which was cut out by Jack Baldwin for a throw-in. Ryan McGowan took the throw-in and his long throw into the box was headed on by Sam McClelland to Stevie May whose attempt at an overhead kick went wide of the target.

PHOTO: Simon Murray’s shot is saved by Dimitar Mitov

Saints created another chance 2 minutes later as May picked out Phillips on the edge of the box and the midfielder curling effort from the midfielder looked destined for the top corner however, Ross Laidlaw made a good save as he palmed the ball round the post for a corner.  

Ross County continued to create the better of the chances and on 17 minutes White saw his effort saved by Mitov. The Dingwall side were awarded another free kick on 24 minutes following a foul on Murray by Gordon. Dhanda sent the free kick deep into the Saints box and Ryan Leak latched onto the ball however, Mitov made a great save to keep the score level.

The pressure on the Saints goal continued and 2 minutes later Dhanda sent a dangerous ball into the Saints box which was met by Josh Sims however, he sent his header wide of Mitov’s right-hand post.

With 10 minutes of the first half remaining Brown’s cross from the right was met by Murray however, his first-time effort was saved by Mitov. The loose ball then broke to Connor Randall however, his strike was blocked by a Saints defender.

PHOTO: Dan Phillips’ strike is palmed away by Ross Laidlaw

With 5 minutes of the first half remaining County took the lead. Good pressing by substitute Kyle Turner, who was on for the injured Yan Dhanda, saw him win the ball from McClelland before slotting a low strike into the far corner of the net.

Saints made a change before the second half got underway as Luke Jephcott came on to replace Oludare Olufunwa.

4 minutes into the second half Brown sent over another inviting cross into the Saints box and White got up well to meet the delivery however, his glancing header went narrowly wide.

It was a good start to the second half for the hosts as they doubled their lead on 51 minutes. Good play by Sims saw him win the ball from Ryan McGowan and the midfielder then advanced down the left channel before picking out Murray in the box. The Staggies forward then passed the ball to George Harmon who laid it off to Randall and the Englishman took a touch before drilling a curling effort into the far corner of the net.

PHOTO: Sam McClelland and Kyle Turner

On 55 minutes Graham Carey played in Cammy Ballantyne who unleashed an effort at goal which took a deflection off Brown to take the sting out of it as Laidlaw comfortably gathered. Then a minute later a deep Carey corner from the right was met by McClelland at the back post as he headed the ball goal wards however, May couldn’t make a connection with it as the ball hit the side netting.

Play then quickly switched to the other end as on 57 minutes Murray played in White who was in on goal however, Mitov made another great save to deny the forward.

Just before the hour mark Steven MacLean introduced some fresh legs as Matt Smith and Cammy Ballantyne made way for Max Kucheriavyi and Taylor Steven and Steven almost made an immediate impact as he twice got a sight of goal in the first 2 minutes following his introduction. On 60 minutes the youngster drove forward before unleashing a strike from 18 yards that went inches over. Then a minute later good play by Saints saw May play in Steven however he dragged his effort narrowly wide of the post.

PHOTO: Taylor Steven unleashes a strike at goal

Saints were playing better following the changes and on 71 minutes Kucheriavyi’s corner from the left was met by McGowan who saw his effort cleared off the line by Sims. Then with 11 minutes remaining Andy Considine’s long throw into the box broke to Phillips on the edge of the area however, he couldn’t test Laidlaw with his strike.

Ross County came close to a third on 84 minutes as Jordan Tillson won the ball from Kucheriavyi before playing in Turner however, his effort was saved by Mitov.

With 3 minutes remaining Saints were awarded a free kick following a foul by Brown on Kucheriavyi. Carey took the free kick and he curled the ball up and over the wall however, his effort was straight at Laidlaw who gathered the ball as County comfortably saw out the game.

PHOTO: Ryan McGowan sees his effort cleared off the line by Josh Sims

Ross County: Laidlaw, Randall, Brown, Baldwin, Dhanda (Turner 34’), Sims (Smith 72’), Loturi (Tillson 72’), Murray (Brophy 76’), Harmon, White, Leak

Unused Substitutes: Munro (GK), Sheaf, Henderson, Samuel, Reid

Booked: White, Leak

Scorers: Turner (40’), Randall (51’)

Saints: Mitov, Considine, McGowan, Gordon, May, Carey, Olufunwa (Jephcott 45’), McClelland, Smith (Kucheriavyi 59’), Ballantyne (Steven 59’), Phillips

Unused Substitutes: Richards (GK), Ferguson, Parker, McCrystal

Booked: Gordon, Steven

Referee: William Collum

VAR: John Beaton

Attendance: 4,157

Match Report by Daryl Scott

Picture: Dan Phillips is tackled by Connor Randall

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