Ross County 1-1 Saints

Saturday 15th February

An injury time goal from Staggies striker Billy McKay meant that Saints had to settle for a point at The Global Energy Stadium this afternoon.

Saints had taken a first half lead thanks to a Stevie May strike after the forward had done a neat one-two with Chris Kane.

As the match progressed conditions were not great for either side as the heavy rain continued to fall throughout the match causing the pitch to cutup.

Saints had numerous chances to finish the game off but they were left to regret those misses. Deep into the 5 minutes of injury time County equalised as Billy McKay turned home a low Josh Mullin cross.

Today’s result means that Saints are now unbeaten in their last five games in all competitions. Tommy Wright’s side remain in eight position in the Ladbrokes Premiership on 31 points. Next up is a home game against Rangers next Sunday, kick off 1:30pm.

MATCH REPORT

Saints were back on the road today as they made the trip up the A9 to take on Ross County in Dingwall. Following Wednesday’s 2-1 home win against Motherwell Tommy Wright made five changes to his starting eleven for this afternoon’s match. Scott Tanser, Liam Gordon, Matt Butcher, who was making his first start for the club after joining on-loan from Bournemouth last month, Stevie May and Chris Kane all came in to replace Anthony Ralston, Callum Booth, Liam Craig, Jason Holt and Callum Hendry. The Staggies suffered a 3-0 defeat at Hibs in midweek and co-managers Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell made six changes to the team this afternoon. Out went goalkeeper Nathan Baxter, Keith Watson, Liam Fontaine, Harry Paton, Sean Kelly and Lee Erwin. Ross Laidlaw took his place between the sticks whilst Callum Morris, Josh Mullin, Richard Foster, Oli Shaw and Don Cowie all came into the starting eleven.

It was a dreich afternoon at The Global Energy Stadium as the hosts got the match underway. Saints started the match brightly and Drey Wright sent an inviting ball into the box after 3 minutes however, the County defence were able to clear the danger before a Saints player could get on the end of it.

Ross County came close on 9 minutes as Josh Mullin broke down the right before crossing from the byline which Zander Clark palmed onto the post before the danger was cleared. Then 4 minutes later Clark was called into action again this time saving a fierce 25 yard effort from Oli Shaw.

On 18 minutes great play by Ali McCann saw him intercept the ball in the County midfield before playing a great pass to Stevie May as Saints hit The Staggies on the counter. May then liked up well with Chris Kane and as Saints broke into the box May saw his cross into the box partly cleared. The loose ball broke to Drey Wright but his effort well saved by Laidlaw. The home side struggled to control the ball as it broke to David Wotherspoon but his strike went over. Then a couple of minutes later Saints created another chance as Wotherspoon’s cross from the right picked out Scott Tanser but his header was well saved by Ross Laidlaw.

Saints were coping better in the tricky conditions and on 28 minutes McCann did well to win possession before slipping the ball to May. The Saints striker then sent a great pass into the path of the advancing Wotherspoon however, his effort from the edge of the box went wide.

The pressure from Saints eventually told on 33 minutes as May played a great one-two with Chris Kane as he was played in behind the County defence before side footing his low effort into the far corner of the net past Laidlaw.

Before the second half could get underway the hosts made a change as Harry Paton came on, replacing Ross Draper.

Ross County started the second half the better of the two sides as they showed a lot more intent going forward. Just after the hour mark County skipper Marcus Fraser saw his long range effort go wide of Clark’s left-hand post.

Many games around the country including Premiership matches at Fir Park and Ibrox off due to the weather. The rain in Dingwall continued to lash down which was making conditions tricky for both sides as the pitch was cutting up.

On 70 minutes Saints made their first change of the game as Michael O’Halloran came on for Stevie May. That was followed by another change 3 minutes later as Matt Butcher made way for Jason Holt as Tommy Wright freshened things up.

With the rain getting heavier as the match entered the final 10 minutes Holt came close to doubling Saints advantage as he worked in his way in the Ross County box before having a shot which Laidlaw blocked with his legs.

County were then forced to play the closing stages of the match with ten men as Coll Donaldson went off injured, with them having already made all 3 substitutions. Despite being a man light the hosts continued to press for an equaliser and in the final minute of the ninety an Iain Vigurs cross into the box was spilled by Clark as the Saints keeper dropped the ball at the feet of McKay. A scramble in the box then followed as Jason Kerr’s attempted clearance hit off Clark’s mid-section as the ball trundled along the goal-line before the danger was eventually cleared.

The fourth official then signalled that there would be 5 minutes of additional time and play quickly swung to the other end as Saints tried to find that second goal that would end the game as a contest. Saints broke at pace and Michael O’Halloran saw his effort blocked. The loose ball broke Wright but he blasted over.

It was an action packed final couple of minutes as Saints created another chance but Wright couldn’t direct his effort from the edge of the area on target.

Saints were left to regret those missed chances as deep into injury time Mullin drilled a low cross from the right and McKay slide in to knock the ball into the net to salvage a point for the hosts.

Ross County: Laidlaw, Fraser, Morris, Draper (Paton 45), McKay, Vigurs, Mullin, Foster, Shaw (Erwin 62), Donaldson, Cowie (Spittal 76)

Unused Substitutes: Baxter (GK), Fontaine, Watson, Tillson

Booked: Draper

Scorer: McKay (90)

Saints: Clark, Tanser, McCart, Wright, Kane (Hendry 82), Wotherspoon, May (O’Halloran 70), Kerr, Butcher (Holt 72), McCann, Gordon

Unused Substitutes: Parish (GK), Swanson, Ralston, Booth

Booked: Wotherspoon

Scorer: May (33)

Referee: Colin Steven

Attendance: 3,569 (301 Saints fans)

Match Report by Daryl Scott

Picture: Stevie May scores to make it 1-0 Saints