Scottish Premiership
Ross CountyRoss County3HamiltonHamilton Academical0

Ross County 3-0 Hamilton: Billy Mckay scores as Staggies trounce Accies

By Andy CampbellBBC Sport Scotland

Billy Mckay inspired Ross County as they made a winning return to the Scottish Premiership against a sloppy Hamilton Academical.

The striker set up Joe Chalmers' opener and buried the second as County made it five wins from five this term after a 100% League Cup ground campaign.

Ross Stewart headed another for the hosts after the break.

Hamilton threatened mainly through Blair Alston's long-range efforts but only after they were two behind.

Head coach Brian Rice can at least take solace from an improved second-half display but Accies have work to do before next week's visit of Kilmarnock after looking vulnerable in defence throughout.

County, co-managed by Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell, face Hearts away next and will be buoyed by an increasingly impressive start to the season.

County show they mean business

County are the first team in four years to bounce straight back up to the top flight at the first time of asking and, like Hearts in 2015, are showing few signs of being overawed.

Their play lacked finesse at times but their forcefulness led to three unsuccessful penalty claims for handball before Chalmers struck.

Mckay seemed outnumbered on the edge of the box as he retrieved possession but kept the attack alive by squaring for Chalmers, whose left-foot effort curved past Owain Fon Williams.

And the Northern Irishman was typically ruthless from close range after Hunt had been dispossessed by Stewart deep inside Hamilton's half.

Stewart should have done better when he headed Michael Gardyne's cross into Fon Williams' arms in the second period but atoned for that miss with a telling nod on Mullin's delivery.

By then Hamilton had started to show the kind of quality that has sustained them in the Premiership for five years, albeit too late.

Ross Cunningham tested Ross Laidlaw and Alston had three efforts saved, one in particular bringing the best out in the County keeper.

County could have added to their advantage but there was all but done by the time Mckay made way for Brian Graham with 16 minutes left.

Ross County unfurl the Scottish Championship flag
Ross County unfurled the Scottish Championship flag before kick-off

Man of the match - Josh Mullin

BBC Scotland's Eilidh Davies in Dingwall

Although not on the scoresheet, Josh Mullin put in an important shift for the Highland side.

The 26-year-old wide man put in some great runs up and down the wing and sent countless deliveries into the box, as well as having a fierce shot saved.

His free-kick for Ross Stewart's headed goal and high energy were evidence of a player and a team eager to prove themselves on a bigger stage following the step up from the Championship.

Hamilton lack cutting edge - stats

Brian Rice
Accies had almost as many efforts on target as County (six)

'We won't be in the league if we show that lack of fight' - reaction

Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson: "We are delighted. To score three goals, to keep a clean sheet was really pleasing for Stuart Kettlewell and I.

"We're not getting carried away, it's one game of football."

Hamilton Academical head coach Brian Rice: "We've got to prove that we deserve to be in this league and we won't be in the league if we show the lack of fight and lack of desire that we showed.

"It was really, really disappointing today. Fair play to Ross County, they thoroughly deserved to win."

Line-ups

Ross County

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Laidlaw
  • 2Fraser
  • 5Morris
  • 4Fontaine
  • 3Kelly
  • 14MullinSubstituted forPatonat 84'minutes
  • 11Vigurs
  • 23Chalmers
  • 7GardyneSubstituted forSpittalat 79'minutes
  • 9MckaySubstituted forGrahamat 74'minutes
  • 27Stewart

Substitutes

  • 6Draper
  • 12Grivosti
  • 15Watson
  • 19Graham
  • 20Spittal
  • 24Paton
  • 25Ruddy

Hamilton

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Fon Williams
  • 2McGowan
  • 13Gogic
  • 4McKennaBooked at 1minsSubstituted forFjørtoftat 16'minutes
  • 3McMann
  • 10Alston
  • 18MacKinnonBooked at 56mins
  • 6Hunt
  • 14CunninghamSubstituted forSmithat 72'minutes
  • 99Ogkmpoe
  • 9OakleyBooked at 71minsSubstituted forMoyoat 71'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Fjørtoft
  • 7Collar
  • 20Moyo
  • 28Smith
  • 31Southwood
  • 33Mimnaugh
  • 40Hamilton
Referee:
Alan Newlands
Attendance:
4,071

Match Stats

Home TeamRoss CountyAway TeamHamilton
Possession
Home65%
Away35%
Shots
Home14
Away12
Shots on Target
Home6
Away5
Corners
Home9
Away6
Fouls
Home10
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Ross County 3, Hamilton Academical 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Ross County 3, Hamilton Academical 0.

  3. Post update

    Aaron McGowan (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Blair Spittal (Ross County).

  5. Post update

    Attempt saved. Brian Graham (Ross County) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the top right corner.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Owain Fon Williams.

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Liam Fontaine (Ross County) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Aaron McGowan.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Ross County. Harrison Paton replaces Josh Mullin.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Brian Graham (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Ross Stewart (Ross County).

  12. Post update

    Aaron McGowan (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Josh Mullin (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner.

  14. Post update

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

  15. Post update

    Foul by Markus Fjørtoft (Hamilton Academical).

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Marios Ogboe (Hamilton Academical) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Ross County. Blair Spittal replaces Michael Gardyne.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Michael Gardyne (Ross County).

  19. Post update

    Aaron McGowan (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Ross County. Brian Graham replaces Billy Mckay.

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