Well, well, well…that’s a bit more like it!
Ross County made the long trip to second-bottom side Kilmarnock today and did the business. County scored twice in the first four minutes(!) and four times in the first half(!) to all but end the match before the halftime whistle blew.
Liam Boyce opened the scoring only two minutes into the match when his shot was redirected on its way to goal, wrong-footing Kilmarnock goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald (more on him in a moment) and finding the back of the net.
County’s traveling support had barely stopped celebrating when, two minutes later, Michael Gardyne (is he ever not involved in a County goal!?) cut the ball into the middle of the pitch to Craig Curran who saw his shot blocked on the line, but the rebound found it’s way to midfielder Jonathan Franks who made no mistake and opened his account for the season.
Things then went from “bad” to “worse” for the home side when captain Mark Connolly and Darryl Westlake were forced out of the match through injury in the 11th and 25th minutes. With half of the starting Killie backline now watching from the sideline County continued to pile on the pressure with only the heroics of goalkeeper MacDonald keeping Marcus Fraser and Craig Curran from adding at least a goal apiece to County’s total.
MacDonald couldn’t hold back to tide forever, though.
Liam Boyce was back on the score sheet only minutes after the Westlake substitution when he turned in a shot from defender Jamie Reckord to bring the score to 3-0 in favor of the visitors. Much like the second goal, the fourth came almost before the County fans could stop grinning when captain Andrew Davies volleyed a Michael Gardyne (seriously, again!?) inside the back post to record his first goal for the club.
Kilmarnock made their final substitution in the 41st minute when 50 year old (only a slight exaggeration) defender/assistant coach Lee McCulloch decided that he’d seen enough for one afternoon and left the match through injury- most likely to his pride.
The first half ended with Jackson Irvine- who had controlled the first half like some kind of long-haired puppeteer had his own go at goal via an overhead kick that was just pushed over the bar by MacDonald.
County threatened several times in the second half, most notably through Davies and substitute Stewart Murdoch, but MacDonald continued to play well for the home side and there came a point when it was clear that there was no fight left in Kilmarnock and that County were happy to head north without any addition injuries (Boyce left the match in the 62nd minute after suffering a knock to the head).
Following the match Kilmarnock boss Gary Locke called his club’s performance, “unacceptable” and “embarrassing,” while County’s Jim McIntyre described himself as “thrilled” and the side’s effort as “fantastic!”
So, that’s all well and good, but there are other items worth noting. First, while Killie remain tied on points for last place with Inverness Caledonian Thistle (oh, that feels nice to type!), County have moved up to fifth and are only out of fourth by a single goal in the differential column. Second, County have already (5 matches) equaled their first half points total from last season! Finally, this side appears to have a killer instinct. Faced with a match against a club they should take three points from (even away from home), they went into Rugby Park, bossed the match and took those three points home. That’s all this club needs to do this season- get the results they should get- in order to a) stay well away from relegation trouble, b) have a shot of finishing in the top six, and c) have a shot at…no, no, I mustn’t say that yet…
County are back in action in the League Cup on Tuesday when they host the Honest Men of Ayr United F.C. at Victoria Park.