Ross County grabbed three points in a thrilling clash at the bottom of the Scottish Premiership, beating Kilmarnock 3-2 to leave Killie four points from safety.
It took just 19 minutes for the breakthrough which came after Ross County failed to deal with a Gary Dicker ball from a set piece. Kyle Lafferty struck a shot which was blocked, however, the ball fell straight back to him and he lashed home a delightful effort into the bottom corner.
The home dugout and players produced some strong claims that Lafferty should have seen red after he landed a hand in the face of Alex Iacovitti whilst in an aerial tussle. But Ross County would still get themselves level after a frantic period of scrappy play.
Jason Naismith beat Brandon Haunstrup and delivered a perfect ball across the face. Billy McKay was in the right place at the right time and managed to turn it home beyond a stranded Colin Doyle to haul the home side level.
Tommy Wright had only just returned to his spot in the dugout when Ross County doubled their advantage through 17 year old Leo Hjelde. Naismith squeezed a fizzed pass through to Hjelde, who produced the finish of an experienced striker, smashing the ball into the far right corner to send the Staggies 2-1 up.
The turnaround continued in Dingwall just 30 seconds after the second hit the back of the net. Jordan Tillson played a pass to McKay who showed great strength to stay on his feet and slip in behind the two retreating Killie defenders. He lined it up and smashed home on the half volley, a superb strike.
For the second week in a row, Ross County conceded a soft penalty after Keith Watson tried to shepherd the ball out of play, but Greg Kiltie fell just behind him, and a penalty was awarded. Lafferty stepped up and grabbed his second of the game, leathering the ball past Ross Laidlaw. The game was heating up, and Killie were back in it.
In the dying embers of the match, Killie’s Ross Millen was shown a second yellow card for an off the ball incident, in what looked to be a verbal incident. It did not impact the game, and the three seismic points were handed the way of the Highland side.
Billy back to his best
McKay was back to his old potent self, grabbing a brace. He proved that he is still a player of immense quality, with his goals showing his all round game well. His first goal was classic poachers goal, a tap in from a pinpoint cross. McKay’s second was a sensational hit, after showing immense strength and willingness to stay on his feet.
Lafferty’s quality shines through
The second striker to bag a brace in the match, Lafferty has shown just how big a player Kilmarnock have got on their hands. He hassled the Ross County defence all afternoon, and despite not winning the match, provided two goals and looked a real threat.
This was a six-pointer and a win would have been imperative for both sides. But Ross County can breathe a small sigh of relief after grabbing all three points in this one. It was an end-to-end game with five goals, but Ross County showed great resilience and passion to pull through a result.
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