Scottish Premiership
Ross CountyRoss County2St JohnstoneSt Johnstone3

Ross County 2-3 St Johnstone

By Martin DowdenBBC Scotland at Victoria Park
Mackay curled home a superb winner with just two minutes remaining
Mackay curled home a superb winner with just two minutes remaining

A superb free-kick from Dave Mackay snatched victory for St Johnstone in a five-goal thriller at Victoria Park.

Saints appeared to be cruising when a double from David Wotherspoon gave them a two-goal cushion before half-time.

County hit back through Liam Boyce and a Murray Davidson own goal and looked to have earned a share of the points.

But Saints captain Mackay curled home a long-range strike in the dying minutes to snatch a seventh consecutive away win in all competitions.

Manager Tommy Wright will be thrilled that the winning away run continues, but his team made life difficult for themselves by surrendering a two-goal lead, and County will feel they might have won in the end as they pressed forward.

The Staggies had scored in every home game this season. More impressively, St Johnstone had scored in every domestic match and it did not take long for them to continue that run.

What seemed a harmless pass back to home keeper Woods resulted in a bizarre goal that had County boss Jim McIntyre fuming on the touchline.

Wotherspoon took his goals tally to five for the season
Wotherspoon took his goals tally to five for the season

The goalkeeper took his time with an attempted clearance but Wotherspoon had not given in and saw the ball ricochet off him and straight into the net for the opener.

The home side responded with Boyce directing a firm header on target from Jackson Irvine's near post cross, only to see Alan Mannus parry to safety.

Richard Foster almost created an equaliser with a cross from the left but Stewart Murdoch couldn't capitalise from close range under pressure with the goal gaping.

Tony Dingwall then narrowly missed the target with a low shot across Mannus as the home side stepped up the pace.

St Johnstone stamped their authority with a brilliant second. Wotherspoon cut inside Murdoch, into the area and curled a beauty past the outstretched arm of Woods to put his side firmly in command.

County got the shot in the arm they required arrived when Boyce reacted to a ball across the six yard box to slam County back into contention at 2-1.

They took heart from that and, from a corner, Andrew Davies and Davidson challenged for the ball, with the Saints midfielder steering the ball into his own net under pressure.

As the home side smelled blood they created some unrest in that St Johnstone back line but Wright's men have shown their fight and ability many times and pulled a win out of the bag at the finish.

Michael O'Halloran was hauled down by Davies. McKay sized up the free-kick from 25 yards and superbly curled it over the wall for a winner that not only reinforces their top six position, but has them within touching distance of the top three.

Line-ups

Ross County

Formation 4-4-2

  • 21Woods
  • 2Fraser
  • 15DaviesBooked at 87mins
  • 5Boyd
  • 12FosterBooked at 63mins
  • 19DingwallSubstituted forSchalkat 59'minutes
  • 36IrvineBooked at 64mins
  • 26Woods
  • 18MurdochSubstituted forFranksat 78'minutes
  • 10Boyce
  • 11Curran

Substitutes

  • 3Reckord
  • 4Quinn
  • 6Robertson
  • 8McShane
  • 17Franks
  • 23Schalk
  • 31Severn

St Johnstone

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Mannus
  • 14Shaughnessy
  • 2Mackay
  • 22FisherBooked at 68mins
  • 3Scobbie
  • 10WotherspoonSubstituted forCaddisat 90+1'minutes
  • 7Millar
  • 8DavidsonBooked at 45mins
  • 26Craig
  • 9MacLean
  • 29O'HalloranSubstituted forEastonat 90+2'minutes

Substitutes

  • 11Sutton
  • 12Clark
  • 15McKay
  • 16Caddis
  • 24Easton
  • 25Kane
  • 27Thomson
Referee:
Kevin Clancy
Attendance:
3,229

Match Stats

Home TeamRoss CountyAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home54%
Away46%
Shots
Home9
Away9
Shots on Target
Home4
Away6
Corners
Home7
Away4
Fouls
Home18
Away6

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Ross County 2, St. Johnstone 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Ross County 2, St. Johnstone 3.

  3. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Brian Easton replaces Michael O'Halloran.

  4. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Liam Caddis replaces David Wotherspoon.

  5. Goal!

    Goal! Ross County 2, St. Johnstone 3. David Mackay (St. Johnstone) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

  6. Booking

    Andrew Davies (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Andrew Davies (Ross County).

  8. Post update

    Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Post update

    Attempt saved. Liam Boyce (Ross County) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Alex Schalk (Ross County).

  11. Post update

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

  12. Post update

    Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Scott Boyd (Ross County).

  14. Post update

    Foul by Marcus Fraser (Ross County).

  15. Post update

    Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Liam Boyce (Ross County) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Liam Boyce (Ross County).

  19. Post update

    Joe Shaughnessy (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Ross County. Jonathan Franks replaces Stewart Murdoch.