By Calum McCrindle
The home side showed signs of improvement from kick off. January signing Nicke Kabamba started up top for the first time with strike partner Eamonn Brophy. The former Hartlepool man put himself about at the top end of the park. He won headers at every opportunity and chased loose balls.
It took until the twentieth minute for the Staggies to register their first shot on target as former Killie striker Lee Erwin had a pop shot from 25 yards out that didn’t cause any issues for Laurentiu Branescu in the Kilmarnock goal.
The deadlock was broken shortly after, with County midfielder Iain Vigurs unleashing a spectacular effort from 30 yards out. The strike curling away from Branescu rifled into the back of the net, leaving the Ayrshire outfit with a job to do after half-time.
The second half started slowly with Ross County quite content to sit and defend their one goal advantage. They did just that, until ten minutes after the restart when Alan Power found Brophy inside the box. The former Hamilton youngster worked some space for himself inside the area and powered a shot past Nathan Baxter who had no chance at saving his strike.
Two minutes later Killie were awarded a penalty which Brophy calmly slotted past Baxter and into the net to complete the comeback for the home side. After going 2-1 up Kilmarnock stamped their authority on the game creating several chances in a short space of time.
Ten minutes before time, Kabamba took his goal tally to three in as many games for Kilmarnock as he looped a header over Baxter and into the net to give his team a two-goal cushion.
The result leaves the Staggies four points above the bottom two with Kilmarnock sitting eight points clear of 11th placed Hearts. Here are three things we learned.
A Killie lift
Kilmarnock fans were screaming out for signings in the January window. At least one striker and a creative central midfielder were asked for but a win will appease fans for now.
A comfortable 3-1 win against Ross County eases pressure after no league wins since November. Not every issue seems to have gone away, but it’s three points for the first time in a long time, which is a boost.
With a difficult run of fixtures on the horizon, Kilmarnock will need similar results in the next few weeks if they want to limit any dogfight worries.
County signings could be the difference between the Premiership and the Championship
Ross County made a few signings in the winter window with Oli Shaw one of the marquee men to arrive in January. The former Hibs youngster lead the line next to Erwin for the Staggies against Kilmarnock.
His link-up play with his striking partner and Josh Mullin could be enough to keep Ross County out of the bottom two. Provided the Dingwall side can stop conceding goals and get their attacking players scoring regularly, they should be capable to staying the in the top flight.
County only slipped up defensively as they had to push for the equaliser. If they can get their noses further in front in games, they should be able to see out games without any issues.
The race to avoid the drop is going to be tight
With the teams currently in the bottom six all seemingly capable of beating each other on any given afternoon, the teams near the foot of the table need to step their game up.
Hearts turning in a great performance to beat Rangers could be a turning point for them whilst Hamilton and St Mirren faced the prospect of fighting relegation last season. Their experience of being at the foot of the table could keep them away from the dreaded bottom two.
For teams like Kilmarnock, however, they will have to fight and grit their way to results over the rest of the season. The race to avoid the drop could be closer than the title race come the end of the season and it’s sure to keep supporters’ eyes glued to the league table for a while yet.