Scottish Premiership
KilmarnockKilmarnock0Ross CountyRoss County2

Scottish Premiership: Kilmarnock 0-2 Ross County

By Richard WilsonBBC Scotland at Rugby Park

A hard-fought victory sent Ross County climbing to fourth place in the Premiership and increased the sense of alarm at Rugby Park.

Alex Schalk's header opened the scoring after eight minutes and Brian Graham's last-minute lob clinched victory.

But Kilmarnock were unable to change their fate in between as they slipped to an eighth home Premiership defeat.

They are eight points clear of Dundee United, who host Aberdeen on Wednesday, but have played two games more.

As soon as the second goal went in, dejected Kilmarnock fans among a paltry 2,633 crowd began to stream out of the ground, as the possibility of a relegation play-off - or worse - looms large.

Neither side was inhibited by their circumstances and the points at stake. The opening minutes saw them create a chance apiece, and that spell shaped the rest of the game.

The home side were first to impose themselves, but Greg Kiltie could not change his body shape quickly enough to properly connect with Josh Magennis's cross and he volleyed over as he rushed into the penalty area.

Kilmarnock would have been heartened by the opportunity, because their home form has been so consistently poor that the general mood at Rugby Park is a deep-seated anxiety. Even so, a familiar feeling of dismay swept round the ground soon after the Kiltie effort.

In County's first meaningful attack, Michael Gardyne delivered a cross into the penalty area from the left and Schalk slipped into space to glance a header into the far corner.

He was unmarked and had the time to compose himself, and that proved a costly aberration for Kilmarnock.

The goal invigorated Schalk. When another cross was sent into the area, he controlled the ball expertly with his back to goal, spun briskly and hit a shot on target that Jamie Macdonald had to move quickly to save.

Kilmarnock boss Lee Clark applauds his team's fans
Lee Clark is still waiting to see a first goal of his tenure after three games in charge

Later in the half, he was about to strike another effort from inside the area when Kilmarnock centre-back Conrad Balatoni slid in to block.

The home side were initially unsettled by their lack of resolve in defence, but they did not concede their place in the game and kept fighting their cause.

It was typical of their misfortune, though, that Topi Obadeyi had to be substituted in the 30th minute because of injury.

It was Obadeyi who came closest to scoring in the first half, with a tame header wide from Rory McKenzie's cross.

The interval provided Kilmarnock boss Lee Clark with an opportunity to revive his side. There was certainly a greater attacking intent to the home side's play in the second half and McKenzie swept a shot on target early on, only to see the Ross County goalkeeper Gary Woods save.

Kilmarnock saw plenty of possession, while County seemed comfortable defending their lines and striking on the break.

They almost added to their lead when Graham's cross was headed against the outside of he post by Liam Boyce.

In the closing minutes, Kilmarnock's organisation abandoned them, and Graham was able to steer a header over the stranded Macdonald to seal the victory. Booing from the home fans greeted the final whistle.

Line-ups

Kilmarnock

  • 21MacDonald
  • 27Hodson
  • 26Balatoni
  • 5Findlay
  • 36FaubertSubstituted forO'Haraat 73'minutes
  • 7McKenzieSubstituted forCarrickat 70'minutes
  • 23Kiltie
  • 29Dicker
  • 16ObadeyiSubstituted forHigginbothamat 31'minutes
  • 28Magennis
  • 22McHattie

Substitutes

  • 11Higginbotham
  • 13Brennan
  • 14O'Hara
  • 18Ashcroft
  • 19Slater
  • 20Carrick
  • 39Frizzell

Ross County

  • 21Woods
  • 12Foster
  • 43Quinn
  • 15DaviesBooked at 75mins
  • 2FraserBooked at 28mins
  • 36Irvine
  • 17FranksSubstituted forDe Vitaat 83'minutes
  • 26WoodsBooked at 82mins
  • 7Gardyne
  • 23SchalkSubstituted forBoyceat 60'minutes
  • 25GoodwillieBooked at 58minsSubstituted forGrahamat 72'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Robertson
  • 8McShane
  • 9Graham
  • 10Boyce
  • 24De Vita
  • 41Foden
  • 44McLaughlin
Referee:
Stephen Finnie
Attendance:
2,633

Match Stats

Home TeamKilmarnockAway TeamRoss County
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home8
Away6
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home8
Away7
Fouls
Home19
Away19

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Kilmarnock 0, Ross County 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Kilmarnock 0, Ross County 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is too high following a set piece situation.

  4. Post update

    Hand ball by Paul Quinn (Ross County).

  5. Goal!

    Goal! Kilmarnock 0, Ross County 2. Brian Graham (Ross County) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Gary Woods.

  6. Post update

    Attempt saved. Mark O'Hara (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Kallum Higginbotham (Kilmarnock).

  8. Post update

    Martin Woods (Ross County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock).

  10. Post update

    Liam Boyce (Ross County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock).

  12. Post update

    Andrew Davies (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Ross County. Raffaele De Vita replaces Jonathan Franks.

  14. Booking

    Martin Woods (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  15. Post update

    Kevin McHattie (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Martin Woods (Ross County).

  17. Post update

    Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Josh Magennis.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Kevin McHattie.

  19. Post update

    Kevin McHattie (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Andrew Davies (Ross County).

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic27195370224862
2Aberdeen27175546301656
3Hearts27148549262350
4Ross County29123144446-239
5St Johnstone27106114244-236
6Dundee2781184042-235
7Inverness CT2789103439-533
8Motherwell2895143344-1132
9Partick Thistle2587102531-631
10Hamilton2879123248-1630
11Kilmarnock2977152951-2228
12Dundee Utd2755172950-2120
View full Scottish Premiership table

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