Scottish Premiership
Ross County1St Johnstone2

Ross County 1-2 St Johnstone

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Highlights: Ross County 1-2 St Johnstone

Chris Kane's stunning late strike earned victory for St Johnstone over Ross County, and moved the Perth side within a point of fourth-placed Hearts in the Scottish Premiership.

Jay McEveley diverted a Blair Alston cross into his own net for the opener.

Martin Woods' second-half shot deflected into the path of Craig Curran, who duly levelled.

But substitute Kane's brilliant floating effort found the top corner in the final minute of normal time.

Same old Super J's

St Johnstone look certain for a top-six finish. They are chasing teams above them now having established an 11-point cushion in fifth place.

Kane's late winner was dramatic, timely and on balance looked deserved as Saints were the better side overall. They took their chances whereas County did not.

The loss of Murray Davidson to an early thigh injury was catered for with the introduction of Keith Watson, and a couple of positional changes.

They coped with that setback well, as they did when County equalised, and some refereeing decisions did not go their way.

Alston hit the post early on with a neat flick but Saints went ahead when the midfielder squared dangerously across the six-yard line.

Steven MacLean pressured McEveley enough to force the defender to touch into his own net.

Liam Craig cracked a post direct from a corner but the main source of frustration came when referee John Beaton somehow did not see Woods clearly handle Watson's header on the line.

They might also have had a penalty awarded when Richard Foster was caught on the edge of the box.

MacLean was very unlucky with a superb touch and shot which was brilliantly saved by Scott Fox.

The great thing about this squad is they deliver consistently and did so again. As the clocked ticked, Kane took control and his winner, soaring into the top corner, was a thing of beauty.

Home heartache

County's recent results at home have been damaging - this was their third straight defeat in Dingwall in all competitions, and the result adds pressure given the compact nature of the Premiership's bottom seven teams.

No significant damage was done in terms of league position but results like this might count further down the line.

There were key moments in this game that did not go their way.

Before St Johnstone's opener, Joe Shaughnessy appeared to handle in the box but whether that was intentional was unclear.

Craig Curran celebrates scoring for Ross County
Craig Curran seized upon Martin Woods' deflected shot to level for Ross County

It is possibly more fruitful to consider things that can be directly controlled and Michael Gardyne blazed a fabulous chance miles over from inside which would have changed the complexion of the game.

When Gardyne redirected a long diagonal off an upright, you started to wonder if it was just not their day.

Liam Boyce was unlucky with a curling effort, as was Milan Lalkovic.

Their goal had a touch of fortune in that Woods' shot deflected straight to Curran, who delighted in curling home on his return to the starting line-up.

To lose the point so late in the game will be extremely frustrating, with a couple of testing fixtures to follow against Aberdeen and Hearts.

Ross County manager Jim McIntyre: "That's two weeks in a row we've lost a late goal and it's a real sickener given the effort we've put into the game.

"We got ourselves back into the game and didn't punish St Johnstone when we had the opportunity to.

"The most glaring opportunity was Gardyne's shot from eight yards which sailed over the bar. That was a big moment in the match.

"Nothing really changes. It's still very tight. Nothing is going to be decided over the next three or four games because you would class them as a harder run of fixtures.

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Interviews - Wright and McIntyre

"We've done it already this season at Ibrox and Tynecastle where we've put in really good performances and picked up points. There's nothing to say we won't go and do that again."

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright: "I thought we were excellent. I do think we deserved to win on the number of chances we created.

"We were good with the ball when in possession. We were excellent in terms of counter-attacking all day.

"We showed character again but it's a wonderful goal to win the game and it came at the right time.

"We knew if we beat them [Ross County] we'd go 13 [points] ahead of them and that's a big number to make up between now and when the split comes.

"We can't rest. We can't think we're in the top six. You've got to go out and do it week in, week out."

Line-ups

Ross County

  • 1Fox
  • 2Fraser
  • 15Davies
  • 5McEveley
  • 28van der WegSubstituted forNaismithat 54'minutes
  • 27Lalkovic
  • 8Woods
  • 12ChowSubstituted forO'Brienat 61'minutesBooked at 76mins
  • 7GardyneSubstituted forSchalkat 65'minutes
  • 11Curran
  • 10Boyce

Substitutes

  • 3Naismith
  • 6O'Brien
  • 9Dow
  • 19Gobern
  • 23Schalk
  • 31McCarey
  • 43Quinn

St Johnstone

  • 12Clark
  • 19Foster
  • 14Shaughnessy
  • 6Anderson
  • 24Easton
  • 8DavidsonSubstituted forWatsonat 13'minutes
  • 26Craig
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 7Millar
  • 4Alston
  • 9MacLeanSubstituted forKaneat 88'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Mannus
  • 3Scobbie
  • 17Coulson
  • 22Watson
  • 25Kane
  • 27Thomson
  • 49Jardine
Referee:
John Beaton
Attendance:
3,187

Match Stats

Home TeamRoss CountyAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home10
Away11
Shots on Target
Home3
Away6
Corners
Home4
Away11
Fouls
Home8
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Ross County 1, St. Johnstone 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Ross County 1, St. Johnstone 2.

Attempt missed. Andrew Davies (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Attempt saved. Alex Schalk (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Goal!

Goal! Ross County 1, St. Johnstone 2. Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner. Assisted by David Wotherspoon.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Jason Naismith.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Christopher Kane replaces Steven MacLean.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Martin Woods (Ross County) because of an injury.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Liam Craig.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Marcus Fraser.

Hand ball by Craig Curran (Ross County).

Booking

Jim O'Brien (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Jim O'Brien (Ross County).

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

Jason Naismith (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Liam Craig (St. Johnstone).

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Jason Naismith.

Attempt blocked. Blair Alston (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Goal!

Goal! Ross County 1, St. Johnstone 1. Craig Curran (Ross County) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jim O'Brien.

Attempt missed. Jim O'Brien (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Attempt saved. Andrew Davies (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Foul by Chris Millar (St. Johnstone).

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

Foul by Richard Foster (St. Johnstone).

Marcus Fraser (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Liam Craig (St. Johnstone).

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

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Scott Fox.

Attempt saved. Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the bottom right corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Alex Schalk replaces Michael Gardyne.

Foul by Joe Shaughnessy (St. Johnstone).

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

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Scott Fox.

Attempt blocked. Joe Shaughnessy (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Jay McEveley.

Attempt saved. Blair Alston (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Jim O'Brien replaces Tim Chow.

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

Foul by Jason Naismith (Ross County).

goal