Well, I don’t think anyone thought today’s match would play out like THAT!
Barely ten minutes into today’s match at Dens Park Ross County’s Canadian international midfielder Terry Dunfield was shown a straight red card for his tackle on Dundee midfielder Paul McGowan, leaving the club down a man for the remaining 80+ minutes and more than six minutes of injury time at the end of the second half. So, that’s it for even an away point against Dundee, right? Not so fast…
Manager Jim McIntyre reacted quickly, subbing out midfielder Joe Cardle and replacing him with defender Scott Boyd, whose exclusion from the starting line-up was as puzzling as Dunfield’s inclusion was even after his abysmal showing against Caley on New Year’s Day. Boyd’s entry into the match and some tinkering with the formation and tactics (County continued to press the attack despite being a man down) managed to get County to halftime with the match still even at 0-0.
The Dundee goal that everyone anticipated under the circumstances came ten minutes into the second half when Jim McAlister tucked a pass from Gary Irvine past Antonio Reguero (who had another excellent outing) and into the County net. Much to the surprise of some (most?), County did not buckle despite the circumstances and continued to hunt for the goal that would even the match.
The goal came in the 65 minute when Filip Kiss delivered a cross into the box which was smashed past Dundee goalkeeper Scott Bain by…you guessed it…Craig Curran. The new signing was barely an hour into his Ross County career and already well on his way to becoming a folk hero. One might have thought that County would be content to try to protect the away point (especially under the circumstances!), but Jim McIntyre was clearly looking for all three points when he subbed out forwards Liam Boyce in the 70th minute and Curran in the 78th minute and replaced them not with defenders, but with midfielder Steven Ross and forward Jake Jervis.
In the end County didn’t get all three points and there was a bit of “squeaky-bum time” before the final whistle was blown, but it was a job done- well done.
County now trail second-last place club St. Mirren by two goals in the differential column, but they are also a full six points behind 10th place Motherwell and guaranteed safety from relegation. Not to worry, though. A few more signings like Curran and County will rise right up the table!
Next up an important match against 9th place Patrick Thistle next Saturday.