Ross County v Motherwell
- FT 90 +2
- HT 0-0
Ross County opened their Scottish Premier League account with a solid if unspectacular goalless draw with Motherwell.
Both goalkeepers had time to work on their tans in the Highland sunshine as scoring chances were at a premium.
The best opportunity fell to Michael Higdon when the visiting striker connected in the six yard box only for the ball to fly over the crossbar.
County seldom troubled the 'Well defence in front of 4,824 supporters.
Given the population of Dingwall is not much more than 5,000, that can be regarded as a healthy crowd.
After a summer of gloomy predictions for the future of Scottish football, the stage was set perfectly for a positive response.
The playing surface was pristine, the weather glorious and both sets of fans were in good voice.
However, the match failed to ignite, with neither team able to move the ball around with any attacking menace.
The home side had very generously subsidised the 370-mile coach trip for Motherwell fans but that is where the Highland hospitality stopped.
County were well-organised at the back, with gnarled defensive stalwarts Grant Munro and Ross Tokely in dominant form.
There was an early scare for the home side when Jamie Murphy curled in a cross that evaded everyone in the penalty area and bounced narrowly wide of Michael Fraser's post.
Darren Randolph then had to look lively to tip over a header from Munro.
New Motherwell defender Simon Ramsden hammered a shot wide from distance before Tokely made a vital headed interception to deny Higdon.
The first half ended with Higdon looking skyward in disbelief as he diverted Chris Humphrey's corner over the top.
County are largely unchanged from the side that ran away with last season's First Division title and their shortcomings in the final third were evident.
Lone striker Colin McMenamin was full of honest endeavour but starved of service.
The crowd in the newly-seated Jail End were on their feet early in the second half as Tokely lumbered into the penalty area but the full-back hesitated and his low cross was cut out by a defender in claret and amber.
Paul Lawson tried his luck from long range and a stretching Tokely was inches away from getting on the end of a long Richard Brittain free kick as the home side enjoyed their best spell.
Several 'Well fans, encouraged by the balmy conditions and perhaps inspired by their midweek Champions League meeting with Panathinaikos, were bare-chested and made a right racket but couldn't inspire their team to greater heights.
Substitute Henrik Ojamaa thrilled briefly with a mazy run but could find no way through the brick wall of big men in blue shirts, while Fraser held onto a daisy-cutter from Omar Daley.
The first meeting of these sides won't live long in the memory but both managers declared themselves satisfied with the opening day of the season.
It's not often the weather will be as welcoming as this and, given the level of commitment shown by the home team, locals will be quietly confident of upsetting some of the division's leading lights as the nights draw in.
- 01 Fraser
- 03 Fitzpatrick
- 04 Munro
- 05 Boyd
- 06 Tokely
- 08 Lawson
- 10 Brittain Booked
- 11 Vigurs
- 14 Scott (Morrow - 77' )
- 18 Duncan (Corcoran - 68' )
- 09 McMenamin
- 13 Malin
- 22 Kovacevic
- 23 Macphee
- 15 Corcoran
- 21 Cooper
- 26 Pingwall
- 17 Morrow
- 01 Randolph
- 03 Hammell
- 05 Hutchinson
- 15 Ramsden
- 04 Law
- 06 Hateley
- 07 Humphrey (Ojamaa - 70' )
- 14 Lasley
- 17 Daley (McHugh - 82' )
- 09 Higdon
- 11 Murphy
- 12 Hollis
- 20 Page
- 26 Francis-Angol
- 30 Cummins
- 27 Hetherington
- 08 Ojamaa
- 16 McHugh
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee signals the end of the game.90:00 +1:31
Richard Brittain has shot on goal from a long way out that goes wide left.90:00 +0:09
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Iain Vigurs by Nicky Law. Scott Boyd takes the indirect free kick.89:26
Outswinging corner taken by Tom Hateley.87:58
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Tom Hateley. Inswinging corner taken by Tom Hateley.87:00
Tom Hateley takes the free kick.87:00 Booking
Booking The referee shows Richard Brittain a yellow card.86:51
Ross Tokely gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Robert McHugh.84:09
Close range headed effort by Colin McMenamin goes wide of the left-hand upright.81:44 Substitution
Substitution Omar Daley goes off and Robert McHugh comes on.79:36
Foul by Colin McMenamin on Henrik Ojamaa, free kick awarded. Indirect free kick taken by Darren Randolph.78:54
Corner taken right-footed by Richard Brittain to the near post, Keith Lasley makes a clearance.78:00
Richard Brittain fouled by Keith Lasley, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Michael Fraser.76:54 Substitution
Substitution Martin Scott goes off and Sam Morrow comes on.75:13
Omar Daley takes a shot. Michael Fraser makes a save.69:56 Substitution
Substitution Chris Humphrey goes off and Henrik Ojamaa comes on.67:33
Indirect free kick taken by Scott Boyd.67:33 Substitution
Substitution Mark Corcoran comes on in place of Russell Duncan.67:33
Foul by Simon Ramsden on Iain Vigurs, free kick awarded.64:01
Paul Lawson fouled by Omar Daley, the ref awards a free kick. Michael Fraser takes the indirect free kick.
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Iain Vigurs from the right by-line to the near post. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Iain Vigurs, Grant Munro gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Shaun Hutchinson. Darren Randolph takes the free kick.61:21
Corner taken short by Nicky Law.60:09
Iain Vigurs fouled by Nicky Law, the ref awards a free kick. Richard Brittain takes the free kick.59:29
Paul Lawson takes a shot.55:03
Corner taken left-footed by Iain Vigurs, Headed effort from inside the box by Scott Boyd misses to the right of the target.53:06
Ross Tokely gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Simon Ramsden. Free kick taken by Darren Randolph.52:03
Unfair challenge on Colin McMenamin by Simon Ramsden results in a free kick. Iain Vigurs takes the free kick.51:09
Stevie Hammell takes a shot.50:25
Foul by Russell Duncan on Keith Lasley, free kick awarded. Nicky Law restarts play with the free kick.46:35
Corner taken right-footed by Tom Hateley, Scott Boyd makes a clearance.45:01
The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.45:00 +1:05 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.44:26
Corner taken by Ross Tokely.42:16
Long range shot by Simon Ramsden goes wide right of the goal.40:07
Corner from the right by-line taken by Tom Hateley, Michael Higdon has a header from inside the six-yard box and clears the crossbar.38:45
The official flags Michael Higdon offside. Michael Fraser restarts play with the free kick.38:01
Grant Munro challenges Darren Randolph unfairly and gives away a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Darren Randolph.37:08
Shaun Hutchinson concedes a free kick for a foul on Colin McMenamin. Indirect free kick taken by Richard Brittain.35:07
Corner taken by Tom Hateley from the left by-line played to the near post. Corner taken by Tom Hateley from the left by-line, Scott Boyd fouled by Shaun Hutchinson, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Michael Fraser.33:35
Shaun Hutchinson challenges Colin McMenamin unfairly and gives away a free kick. Richard Brittain crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel, clearance by Shaun Hutchinson.32:18
Corner taken left-footed by Iain Vigurs from the left by-line, Shaun Hutchinson manages to make a clearance.31:12
Free kick awarded for a foul by Jamie Murphy on Russell Duncan. Richard Brittain takes the indirect free kick. Grant Munro takes a shot. Save by Darren Randolph.30:02
The ball is swung over by Omar Daley.28:28
Foul by Russell Duncan on Stevie Hammell, free kick awarded. Stevie Hammell restarts play with the free kick.28:08
Keith Lasley challenges Russell Duncan unfairly and gives away a free kick. Grant Munro takes the indirect free kick.25:32
Paul Lawson produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the left of the target.24:19
Free kick awarded for a foul by Russell Duncan on Nicky Law. Nicky Law takes the free kick.21:52
The assistant referee signals for offside against Colin McMenamin. Darren Randolph restarts play with the free kick.16:59
Keith Lasley challenges Martin Scott unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Marc Fitzpatrick.14:19
Michael Higdon takes a shot. Michael Fraser makes a save.8:59
The referee blows for offside. Michael Fraser restarts play with the free kick.5:30
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Simon Ramsden by Martin Scott. Free kick taken by Shaun Hutchinson.3:30
Effort on goal by Jamie Murphy from just inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.2:04
Unfair challenge on Ross Tokely by Simon Ramsden results in a free kick. Iain Vigurs takes the indirect free kick.0:00
The match begins.
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