Things did not start well at New Douglas Park yesterday. Ross County arrived having won four matches on the trot and having elevated themselves – barely – above the relegation zone, found themselves down a goal after only two minutes. The goal came from 85-year-old Jason Scotland and quickly damped the spirits of the normally vocal Ross County traveling support. Traveling support, it should be noted, that was engaged in another of its famous “themed”away days. Yesterday the theme was “inflatables,” and among the items seen in the crowd were beer steins, a giant football, and few others that could only be described as “adult-themed.”
Following the opening goal the match settled down, but unfortunately it settled into a messy affair in which neither side were able to put the other’s goal under much threat or to play anything resembling “flowing” football. It could best be described as a “scrappy” affair. Unfortunately, Ross County made its second defensive lapse of the match and they were punished for this one as well when Dougie Imrie cut through the County defense and put the ball past an on-rushing Mark Brown. As with the first goal, Brown did nothing wrong, but was punished just the same.
Finally, just a few minutes before halftime, County were thrown a lifeline when Craig Curran – by no means the tallest man on the artificial (ugh) pitch – rose to nod in a corner from Raffa De Vita. It didn’t seem to be enough to swing the momentum entirely in County’s direction, but the reaction of Curran to his goal seemed to suggest that there was at least one County player who was not going down without a fight.
When the match resumed, however, it appeared that Curran’s determination had been picked up by the rest of the side. County were determined to go forward during the second half and, after several close calls, it was once again Raffa De Vita who played provider, finding Michael Gardyne on the wing. Gardyne left several Accies in his wake and put the ball past former Staggies’ goalkeeper Mick McGovern.
In the last quarter of the match both clubs made numerous substitutions – of both an offensive and defensive nature – and Hamilton pulled out all of the stops to try to snatch a late winner while County looked to hold on to a precious away point. In the end it was County that held on for a 2-2 result. Video highlights here. (Ed. Note: If you look closely, you can see WeeFuse in the stands, but no shots of the mashup flag so far.)
This result, coupled with the results of Motherwell and St. Mirren, meant that Ross County remain in 10th place and safe from relegation for at least another week. County are at home against Kilmarnock this Saturday – and I’ll be there.