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Ross County closing in on win after tricky start to Premiership season

By Alasdair Fraser

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Malky Mackay is convinced a win is just around the corner for Ross County, given the quality of performances against six of Scotland’s best.

The Staggies manager saw his revamped side take a third draw from an extraordinarily tough first six Premiership matches.

Blair Spittal’s brilliantly-taken double wiped out Liam Boyce’s early opener for Hearts on Saturday, before a Stephen Kingsley free kick squared it up again. Both sides had good chances, but County impressed both in creativity and in defensive stubbornness.

Former SFA performance director Mackay said: “We were playing against the team of the moment, who have a fabulous squad of players and are obviously flying in the league.

“They came here today with an interesting change of formation from the one that has been serving them well, but I felt we coped with that quite well.

“It was a very good game and, again, we’ve gone toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the league. We’ve had Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen, St Johnstone, Hibs and Hearts now over the first few weeks and we’ve created good chances against them all, with good patterns of play.

“I was delighted with the way we scored both goals on Saturday and we could have nicked it at the end.”

Ross County's Blair Spittal celebrates his second goal against Hearts. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Ross County's Blair Spittal celebrates his second goal against Hearts. Picture: Ken Macpherson

County now face a series of five matches against teams more likely to be around them in the table this season.

Mackay, who praised his side’s work rate and resilience, said: “I would hope a win isn’t far away. We’ve had a real run against the top clubs, but we’re in games right to the end. I’m seeing signs. If we keep playing like that, we’ll be fine.

“It is the start of something new. We’ve had 12 players in and 16 out, with everybody getting to know each other and debuts every week.

“It meant it was always likely to be a rocky start, but what they’re giving me is organisation, commitment, determination, fitness and they’re keeping going to the end. Hearts were throwing everything at us, yet we still go up the park and arguably should score in the last minute.

“I’m delighted with the way they’re applying themselves towards where I want them to be.”

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