Scottish Premiership
Ross County1Hearts1

Ross County 1-1 Heart of Midlothian

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Highlights: Ross County 1-1 Heart of Midlothian

Right-back Jason Naismith rescued a point for bottom-club Ross County with a late strike against Hearts.

The visitors had taken the lead in the second half with a Kyle Lafferty free-kick that bounced in front of County goalkeeper Scott Fox before landing in the net.

Davis Keillor-Dunn spurned an opportunity to equalise, lashing over from close range.

Naismith's goal moved County to within two points of second-bottom Hamilton.

The home side came into the game buoyed by their stunning win at Dens Park two weeks ago, and Keillor-Dunn did well to escape the attentions of Hearts defender Michael Smith early on but his attempt to get the ball into the box was poor.

Ross County's Jason Naismith scores against Hearts
Ross County defender Jason Naismith scored the equaliser against Hearts

Midfielder Joaquim Adao was first to try his luck for Hearts, and County goalkeeper Fox tipped the 30-yard shot around the post for a corner.

The quality of the passing from both teams was poor, with neither side able to establish a foothold in the match or deliver any creativity going forward.

Hearts were dealt a blow midway through the half with Arnaud Djoum having to be carried off with what appeared to be an Achilles injury.

County ended a poor opening half slightly on top, and David N'Gog could have played in his strike partner Alex Schalk but delayed his pass and allowed Hearts centre-back John Souttar to intervene and clear the danger.

Hearts midfielder Arnaud Djoum stretchered off against Ross County
Hearts midfielder Djoum was stretchered off with a suspected Achilles injury

The visitors though came out of the traps quickly in the second period and they were denied an opener when Fox tipped a volley from Souttar onto the post.

However the County goal was breached after a spell of persistent pressure. From a free-kick 25 yards out, Lafferty floated the ball over the wall to send Fox scrambling across his line. The County keeper got his fingertips to the ball, but he couldn't stop it from hitting the back of the net.

County manager Owen Coyle introduced Greg Tansey in an attempt to get back into the game and the midfielder, on loan from Aberdeen, almost had a hand in an equaliser when he played Christopher Routis down the left. His cross into the box was met by Keillor-Dunn seven yards out, but the midfielder blasted high over.

Finally, the game opened up with chances being created at both ends. Demetri Mitchell provided a searching cross into the home box that Tansey did well to clear with both Lafferty and Ross Callachan ready to pounce.

Hearts defender John Souttar and his brother, Ross County defender Harry Souttar
Hearts defender John Souttar came up against his brother, Harry, who is on loan at Ross County from Stoke

The home side, though, were slowly edging their way towards the Hearts goal and eventually drew level after a spell of possession.

Schalk played the ball wide to Naismith, who had made great strides down the right. His first-time shot was hit across goal and beyond the outstretched arms of Jon McLaughlin in the Hearts goal.

Naismith almost snatched a second for the Staggies, but the Hearts captain Christophe Berra made a terrific block to deny the home side the lead.

County were pushing for a winner and substitute Ryan Dow saw an effort blocked on the line, but there was to be no way through as both teams ended up with a point apiece.

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Ross County manager Owen Coyle was pleased with his side's reaction to falling a goal behind to Hearts

Post-match reaction

Ross County manager Owen Coyle: "The first half wasn't as eventful as the second. I thought for large periods we were in control of that first half. Any half chances that came I though we had them against a very good Hearts side.

"In the second half, I thought Hearts started slightly better than us for the first 10 or 15 minutes. They forced a few corners and we kind of lost our passing game. That said, their goal was wonderful. A free kick and I know what Kyle (Lafferty) can do. I sold him for £4m to Rangers from Burnley and he is capable of that quality. The important thing for us was our reaction.

"Our goal was a fantastic team goal, but even prior to that Keillor-Dunn has a fantastic chance at the back post. There was a lot to be pleased about in the second half and what we have shown in back-to-back performances against Dundee and now Hearts we are a team capable of winning games and we need points.

"I've always felt confident we will get the club to safety and that's what we will look to do and who is to say it won't turn out to be the most important point of the season. We would have loved all three and I thought late on we probably merited them."

Hearts manager Craig Levein: "It opened up a bit in the second half. With us being in front obviously it would have been better for us if it didn't. But all credit to Ross County.

"They committed men forward. It was their full back that scored so yes they were more adventurous in the second half. We probably didn't play as well as we could.

"We fought hard enough and I've got no complaints on that front and we were a little bit naive at their goal. Their player got in between Andy Irving and young Demi (Mitchell). I couldn't stand here and say we deserved to win it and I thought a draw was a fair result."

Line-ups

Ross County

  • 1Fox
  • 3Naismith
  • 32FontaineBooked at 53mins
  • 5Souttar
  • 2Fraser
  • 47KaitSubstituted forTanseyat 59'minutesBooked at 89mins
  • 4Routis
  • 25O'BrienSubstituted forDowat 83'minutes
  • 40Keillor-Dunn
  • 14N'GogSubstituted forCurranat 75'minutes
  • 10Schalk

Substitutes

  • 9Dow
  • 11Curran
  • 12Effiong
  • 22Mckay
  • 23Tansey
  • 31McCarey
  • 35Melbourne

Hearts

  • 1McLaughlin
  • 2Smith
  • 4Souttar
  • 6Berra
  • 24Mitchell
  • 66AdaoBooked at 87mins
  • 15CowieSubstituted forMcDonaldat 82'minutes
  • 20Callachan
  • 10Sutchuin-DjoumSubstituted forIrvingat 25'minutes
  • 11MilinkovicSubstituted forHendersonat 68'minutes
  • 9Lafferty

Substitutes

  • 5Hughes
  • 8Buaben
  • 13Hamilton
  • 16Randall
  • 41Irving
  • 43Henderson
  • 46McDonald
Referee:
Craig Thomson
Attendance:
4,936

Match Stats

Home TeamRoss CountyAway TeamHearts
Possession
Home46%
Away54%
Shots
Home7
Away8
Shots on Target
Home3
Away3
Corners
Home5
Away10
Fouls
Home7
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Ross County 1, Heart of Midlothian 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Ross County 1, Heart of Midlothian 1.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Christophe Berra.

Booking

Greg Tansey (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Euan Henderson (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Greg Tansey (Ross County).

Booking

Joaquim Adao (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Joaquim Adao (Heart of Midlothian).

Christopher Routis (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Alex Schalk (Ross County) header from very close range is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Christophe Berra.

Attempt saved. Ryan Dow (Ross County) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Ryan Dow replaces Jim O'Brien.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Anthony McDonald replaces Don Cowie.

Joaquim Adao (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Jim O'Brien (Ross County).

Goal!

Goal! Ross County 1, Heart of Midlothian 1. Jason Naismith (Ross County) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Christopher Routis.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Craig Curran replaces David N'Gog.

Davis Keillor-Dunn (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Joaquim Adao (Heart of Midlothian).

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Jim O'Brien.

Attempt blocked. Christopher Routis (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian).

Alex Schalk (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Euan Henderson replaces Manuel Milinkovic.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Christopher Routis.

Foul by Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian).

Jim O'Brien (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ross Callachan (Heart of Midlothian).

Jim O'Brien (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. Joaquim Adao (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt missed. Davis Keillor-Dunn (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Greg Tansey replaces Mattias Kait.

Attempt missed. Ross Callachan (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Attempt blocked. Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Marcus Fraser.

Jim O'Brien (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Andrew Irving (Heart of Midlothian).

Goal!

Goal! Ross County 0, Heart of Midlothian 1. Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

Booking

Liam Fontaine (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic26186254183660
2Aberdeen27164743311252
3Rangers26154748282049
4Hibernian2713863830847
5Hearts2791172824438
6Kilmarnock259883133-235
7Motherwell2795133337-432
8Dundee2784153042-1228
9St Johnstone2475122236-1426
10Partick Thistle2766152545-2024
11Hamilton2465133142-1123
12Ross County2756162946-1721
View full Scottish Premiership table

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