Livingston were the visitors following a disappointing 2-0 defeat vs Motherwell. Dingwall side Ross County saw this game as a huge opportunity to bounce back after their recent poor run of form. They had scored just one goal in the last five games.
Livingston made four changes to the XI which lost at home to Motherwell. Former Staggie Josh Mullin and Jason Holt dropped to the bench, with Gary Holt calling upon Alan Forrest, Scott Robinson and Steve Lawson to take their place in a lineup which looked to be a 4-3-3 formation.
Stuart Kettlewell brought changes to his team with Billy McKay and Regan Charles-Cook dropping to the bench. Captain Iain Vigurs was also removed from the XI, so taking the armband was Staggies legend Michael Gardyne. Coming into the XI along with Gardyne were Oli Shaw, Tom Grivosti and Harry Paton. There was a place on the bench for versatile young defender Ben Williamson.
The home side were welcomed onto the park with a flurry of applause from the 300 supporters who had waited patiently for their stadia return. The away side came out of the Highland Football Academy changing rooms in order to practice social distancing.
An early free kick was conceded by Livingston on the edge of the box, after Tom Grivosti felt the full force of Lawson’s challenge. Gardyne swung it in, but it was successfully cleared by the yellow wall of Livingston.
The early stages of the game proved a cagey affair, with both sides battling it out to maintain the ball. Former Arsenal youth product Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was a constant hassle for Ross County’s centre back pairing. His stature and admirable first touch was the perfect target for Livingston to base their play around.
The first big chance of the game fell to Emmanuel-Thomas, when he beautifully chested the ball down and fired a strike, which looked a certain goal, over the Jailend roof from around eight yards out.
Trusty warhorse Gardyne was fouled right on the edge of the 18-yard line. On-loan Rangers midfielder Stephen Kelly played a low clipped cross into the area. Striker Shaw managed to flick a backwards header beyond the outstretched arms of Max Stryjek in the Livingston goal. It was 1-0 to Kettlewell’s men.
Ross County with their tails up had a flurry of chances after the goal. Before half-time a corner was swung in on the left foot of Birmingham City loanee Charlie Lakin. Coll Donaldson connected with the cross but play was halted as Ross Stewart was deemed to have fouled Ciaron Brown in the Livingston 18-yard box.
Livingston dominated in the early stages of the second half with two corners coming in quick succession which County dealt with well. Grivosti went down with an injury, grabbing his foot which worried the limited County support. He continued the match after quick treatment, but Charles-Cook was being readied on the sidelines.
Alan Forrest weaved his way down the left hand side of the park, beating Grivosti and Donaldson. He fired a ball across the face of goal to the back post and Livi number two Nicky Devlin popped up in the right area and rammed the ball past the stranded Ross Doohan to level the game.
After an injury to captain Gardyne, he was substituted in place of Charles-Cook in a like-for-like swap. The captain’s armband was handed to striker Stewart. Charles-Cook nearly made an instant impact when he fell inside the visitors box. Claims from the County sidelines were deemed incorrect when Kevin Clancy waved away the appeal.
The end-to-end action continued with a flurry of chances from both sides. The first being a Lakin ball across the face which couldn’t be turned home by Charles-Cook. Livingston responded almost instantly when Craig Sibbald went for a spectacular lopping shot, aiming for the top corner.
Some lovely interchange on the right hand side between Paton, Grivosti and Stewart broke County free leaving Charles-Cook with a free strike upon the Livingston goal. The curled effort was easily caught by Stryjek between the Livingston sticks.
Four minutes were added on by the fourth official with both teams going hammer and tongs to grab a winner. An entertaining affair which contained many chances with plenty of action, a point each it ended in Dingwall.