By Ramsay Banks
St Mirren have made it three wins in a row after a 3-2 win over Ross County in Dingwall left the Staggies rooted to the bottom of the table alongside Dundee – four points from safety.
Eamonn Brophy opened the scoring for the Buddies, before Marcus Fraser doubled their advantage. Blair Spittal gave Ross County a lifeline, but that was closely followed by Scott Tanser making it 3-1. Alex Iacovitti made it a contest in the second half, making it 3-2 with a header.
Ross County were first to go close. Blair Spittal earned and delivered a free kick from the right hand side, and Alex Iacovitti sent a bullet header against the woodwork. Regardless, the Staggies defender was flagged offside, so it would have been chalked off had it gone beyond Jack Alnwick.
Spittal then misplaced a pass in midfield, and Eamonn Brophy found himself on the ball. He decided to go it alone, and flashed just wide of the post. Brophy would soon make amends though. Scott Tanser deftly slipped him into the left channel, and he had acres of space to blast it high into the net beyond Ashley Maynard-Brewer, who could perhaps have done better.
County had a chance to level when Ross Callachan took the ball in midfield and skipped effortlessly past Alan Power. He refrained from shooting and opted to lay off Alex Samuel, who could only smash his shot into Joe Shaughnessy after taking a touch. Callachan was soon involved once more, taking a Harry Paton cutback and sending a deflected, looping half-volley that Alnwick had to be equal to.
Marcus Fraser sunk a dagger into the heart of his former club by doubling the lead. The fantastic Tanser delivered a corner that Fraser nodded into the ground. It bounced up into the roof of the net, once more over Maynard-Brewer, who had completely missed the initial ball in.
Spittal wouldn’t let the Staggies go down with a whimper. Samuel battled and won a free kick 25 yards out. The Buddies wall only hampered their cause, as the ball clipped the top of it, and looped over Alnwick.
This fight was short lived however, as County were immediately cut open from kick off. A miscommunication between Maynard-Brewer and Baldwin in the Staggies backline meant that Tanser could calmly chip the former with all the space and time in the world.
After the break, County nearly halved their deficit once more. A free kick went past everyone in the box but Harry Clarke, whose shot struck the outside of the post and went behind for a goal kick.
It took a lot of huffing and puffing, but the St. Mirren house soon came down to breathe life back into the game. It was a simple ball from Clarke that found Iacovitti extremely far forward. This time there was no flag or post to stop him and he glanced his header home.
Malky Mackay looked to his bench to attempt to find a leveller. Joseph Hungbo came on, and nearly made an instant impact, jinking in between 3 defenders. Unfortunately for the Staggies, his finish clipped the base of the post and went out harmlessly. Here are three things we learned.
Here are three things we learned as Ross County and St Mirren clashed in Dingwall:
St Mirren were excellent, but the Staggies were largely the architects of their own downfall. Iacovitti and Baldwin at centre back put their goal at risk with countless indecisive moments between them, and Maynard-Brewer in the County net did not cover himself in glory for any one of his goals conceded.
Scintillating St. Mirren
The Buddies cut through County like paper seemingly at will today. Despite their opponent’s precarious position, they must be commended as the type of attacking threat they displayed today, especially through Scott Tanser, was nothing short of exhilarating.
Close game. Two opposites.
This game went down to the wire, but now the Buddies are 10 points better off than the Staggies. The gap in quality between the sides was shown when St. Mirren closed out the match in a disciplined, professional manner, and County could not hold on to even a shred of hope in the first half before a defensive error put them back to square one. While St. Mirren are comfortably in touch with the teams above and around them, County are now well and truly battling the drop.
Ross County: Maynard-Brewer, Cancola, Baldwin, H.Paton, Spittal, Callachan, A.Samuel, Iacovitti, Charles-Cook, Burroughs, Clarke
Subs: D.Samuel, Watson, Tillson, Hungbo, B.Paton, White, Laidlaw
St Mirren: Alnwick, Fraser, Shaughnessy, McCarthy, Millar, Power, Erhahon, Tanser, McGrath, Ronan, Brophy
Subs: Lyness, Tait, Dunne, Flynn, McAllister, Dennis, Main
NTOF now offers a YouTube channel featuring exclusive interviews, post-match discussion, in-depth debate, and much more – LIKE and SUBSCRIBE and don’t miss any of our videos.