By Ramsay Banks 

Ross County defeated Montrose 4-1 in Dingwall as both side’s exited the Premier Sports Cup.

Neither team could escape Group C regardless of the result, but this was a key indicator as to where they are in terms of fitness, particularly for Ross County. Their pre-season has been fractured by an outbreak of Covid-19.

Disrupted by Covid. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The Staggies drew first blood after six minutes. County new boy Ross Callachan broke down the right, and crossed to fellow new signing Dominic Samuel. His shot came off Aaron Lennox in the Montrose goal, but Blair Spittal was there to prod home.

Alex Iacovitti doubled their lead by nodding in a Spittal cross before half-time. After the break the cinch Premiership club pushed for more, and the third did arrive. Jordan White found himself in acres of space on the penalty spot, and calmly curled the ball beyond Lennox.

Spittal added to the tally by curling a fine effort into the corner of the net. Montrose didn’t throw in the towel, Lewis Milne taking a quick free kick that bemused the County ranks, and Craig Johnston deftly finished through the legs of goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw. Here are three things we learned.

SPL Scottish Premier League Headshots - Season 2020/21

Spittal netted. (Photo by Ken Macpherson/MB Media/Getty Images)

Kicking every ball

In his second game in the Dingwall dugout, manager Malky MacKay made sure to let his players know what he thought of their play. Nearly every second of the match was punctuated with County players receiving instructions from their new boss in no uncertain terms. This approach is giving the players a clear idea of what to do.

Montrose want more

This Montrose side did not seem to use the home side’s top flight status as a reason to dismiss their heavy loss. They were ,in fact, visibly frustrated. Given the account they gave of themselves, they have reason to be disappointed with the slack defending that let them down in the end.

League Looming

Both Montrose and Ross County must now look to their first league fixtures of the season. Montrose face Airdrie next weekend in League One while County host cup double winners St Johnstone. These sides both require a good start to ensure they achieve and perhaps surpass their respective ambitions.

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