They threw punches back and forth- but neither Ross County or Hearts could find a knockout blow in Dingwall as they played out a 0-0 draw.

In the opening five minutes Ross County had the first big chance. Billy McKay broke free and was denied by a Joel Pereira block at the near post as the Staggies hitman was bearing down on goal.

McKay missed a big one. (Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

Coll Donaldson should have scored with a header as he found himself in acres of space in the Jambos box. A mix-up at the back almost ended up with John Souttar notching an own goal, but it just about rolled past the post.

County were getting all the clear openings in attack but no goals were forthcoming in the first half. Chances were then few and far between in the opening 15 minutes of the second half. Oli Shaw had signed for Ross County from Hibs just hours before kick-off and the Hibees academy product was brought on to try and grab a memorable winner.

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Nobody was able to find the net, however, and it ended goalless. Hearts are four points from safety whilst the Staggies are four points clear of relegation danger. Here are three things we learned.

Out from the back

It looks as if Stendel is trying to get Hearts playing it on the deck. When possible, an attack would start with Pereira, who would dispatch the ball short to centre-back Souttar or left-back Ben Garrucio.

Pereira was playing d. (Photo by Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

It would move into midfield and out to the other flank, with a view to getting it in the box. In the first half Hearts had managed to get it into the midfield stage of this process, where they were met with an aggressive County press.

This trend continued into the second half, with Hearts getting very few openings in the final third. Eventually it was a complete shutout for each attack in Dingwall.

Avdijaj goes in at the deep end

He was only signed on Monday but that didn’t stop Stendel fielding his new striker Donis Avdijaj. Signed on a six-month contract, the Kosovo international was given an immediate chance to impress.

Avdijaj made his Jambos debut. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

Overall he was kept pretty quite by the Staggies backline. The ex-Trabzonspor forward was squared the ball by Steven Naismith in the second half but slipped as he went to pull the trigger.

Avdijaj lasted 61 minutes and it’s clear that Stendel wants to give his new recruit every chance to shine.

Even again

In the last nine meetings between these two sides, there have been seven draws and a singular win each. Again, nothing could separate these two outfits.

Kettlewell’s side nullified Hearts. (Photo by David Young/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Both were sturdy in defence but there were opportunities squandered in attack also. County perhaps had the better of them, especially Donaldson’s free header in the first half.

Overall though a draw was probably a fair reflection of things as neither did enough to claim three points.

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