Scottish Premiership
Ross County1St Johnstone0

Ross County 1-0 St Johnstone

A late header from Liam Boyce maintained Ross County's remarkable run of form, making it seven wins in an eight-game unbeaten run.

The Irishman steered home a cross from Jamie Reckord with a smart, looping effort after 84 minutes.

And it was reward for the Staggies creating the best chances in Dingwall.

Martin Woods went close with a free-kick, Alan Mannus made a good first-half double save and Rafa Da Vitta missed with a diving header.

The victory keeps the Dingwall side three points ahead of Motherwell in the relegation play-off place, while they close to within a point of Partick Thistle.

St Johnstone, on course for a fourth successive top-six finish, seldom troubled home goalkeeper Mark Brown and missed the opportunity to leapfrog Dundee United into fourth spot.

It was County who threatened first when Woods fired a curling free kick over the defensive wall but just a yard wide, with Mannus sprawling.

The home side took a grip of proceedings for a spell, with Saints forced deep to defend their penalty area in numbers.

And the breakthrough almost arrived when Woods gathered centrally and fired in a low effort that had Mannus diving full length to save.

Craig Curran slid in for what seemed a certain goal as the ball squirmed loose but Mannus reacted quickly and effectively to scramble across and hold on.

St Johnstone struggled to create openings and James McFadden and Michael O'Hallaron should have done better after getting into promising positions.

County looked determined at the start of the second period with Michael Gardyne prominent in attack.

The midfielder gathered on the edge of the box, controlling on his chest before firing a volley narrowly wide.

Gardyne then delivered a wonderful ball across goal from the right which the stooping De Vita could not quite direct on target.

Boyce went close when he cut inside superbly, only to curl an effort inches wide with strike partner Craig Curran unimpressed given that a square pass may have left an easy finish.

However, Boyce did prove to be the difference with a composed late finish just as it seemed a share of the points was inevitable.

Full-back Reckord gathered on the left and delivered into a crowded area, with Boyce peeling off his marker and calmly nodding the ball just inside the post.

Given Motherwell's emphatic win over bottom side St Mirren, a fifth home victory for the Staggies may prove crucial come the end of the season.

St Johnstone can secure another top-six finish with a victory over Dundee on Saturday but will need to improve their ball retention in order to create openings.

Line-ups

Ross County

  • 21Brown
  • 44Fraser
  • 5Boyd
  • 43Quinn
  • 12Reckord
  • 40GardyneSubstituted forPalazuelos Garciaat 87'minutes
  • 36IrvineBooked at 61minsSubstituted forKissat 82'minutes
  • 26Woods
  • 24De VitaSubstituted forCardleat 70'minutes
  • 16Boyce
  • 11Curran

Substitutes

  • 1Reguero
  • 3Meite
  • 7Cardle
  • 9Jervis
  • 10Kiss
  • 20Sernas
  • 22Palazuelos Garcia

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 2MackayBooked at 55mins
  • 5Wright
  • 6Anderson
  • 24Easton
  • 7Millar
  • 4Lappin
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 29O'HalloranSubstituted forKaneat 85'minutes
  • 17McFaddenBooked at 51minsSubstituted forCroftat 60'minutesBooked at 65mins
  • 9MacLeanBooked at 39minsSubstituted forGrahamat 80'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Scobbie
  • 11Swanson
  • 14Graham
  • 15Banks
  • 19Miller
  • 22Croft
  • 25Kane
Referee:
Kevin Clancy
Attendance:
3,319

Match Stats

Home TeamRoss CountyAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home48%
Away52%
Shots
Home13
Away6
Shots on Target
Home2
Away2
Corners
Home5
Away5
Fouls
Home12
Away16

Live Text

Match ends, Ross County 1, St. Johnstone 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Ross County 1, St. Johnstone 0.

Foul by Liam Boyce (Ross County).

Frazer Wright (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt saved. Brian Graham (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Ruben Palazuelos replaces Michael Gardyne.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Christopher Kane replaces Michael O'Halloran.

Goal!

Goal! Ross County 1, St. Johnstone 0. Liam Boyce (Ross County) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jamie Reckord.

Craig Curran (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Simon Lappin (St. Johnstone).

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Filip Kiss replaces Jackson Irvine.

Chris Millar (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Michael Gardyne (Ross County).

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Paul Quinn.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Brian Graham replaces Steven MacLean.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Mark Brown.

Attempt missed. Liam Boyce (Ross County) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Liam Boyce (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Brian Easton (St. Johnstone).

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Paul Quinn.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Joe Cardle replaces Raffaele De Vita.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by David Mackay.

Foul by Lee Croft (St. Johnstone).

Scott Boyd (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Lee Croft (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.

Raffaele De Vita (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lee Croft (St. Johnstone).

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Frazer Wright.

Jamie Reckord (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Lee Croft (St. Johnstone).

Attempt blocked. David Mackay (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Booking

Jackson Irvine (Ross County) is shown the yellow card.

David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Jackson Irvine (Ross County).

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Lee Croft replaces James McFadden.

Attempt missed. Raffaele De Vita (Ross County) header from the left side of the box is high and wide to the left.

Attempt missed. Michael Gardyne (Ross County) right footed shot from the left side of the box is too high.

Booking

David Mackay (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.

Raffaele De Vita (Ross County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by David Mackay (St. Johnstone).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic29223461144769
2Aberdeen30195650272362
3Inverness CT30166843311254
4Dundee Utd29144115043746
5St Johnstone32136132832-445
6Hamilton32127134247-543
7Dundee30101194141041
8Kilmarnock31108133340-738
9Partick Thistle3198143936335
10Ross County3297163656-2034
11Motherwell3294193355-2231
12St Mirren3263232256-3421
View full Scottish Premiership table

Top Stories