Scottish Premiership
KilmarnockKilmarnock3Ross CountyRoss County1

Kilmarnock 3-1 Ross County: Dyer's side earn first league win in 10

By Jordan ElgottBBC Scotland

Kilmarnock came from behind to beat Ross County 3-1 and earn their first Scottish Premiership win in 10 games.

The hosts had lost their last seven league games and fell behind to a brilliant volley by Iain Vigurs.

But Eamonn Brophy's three-minute brace turned the game on its head and Nicke Kabamba made sure of the points late on.

Kilmarnock had been in a dreadful run of form, but the win gives Alex Dyer his first victory as manager.

The result extends Ross County's winless run to eight matches, as they drop down to ninth place in the table.

Dyer's side find cutting edge

"We need to win the game, it's as simple as that," said Dyer before the game. But even a point would not have been a disaster.

This wretched run Kilmarnock have been on just needed to come to an end. Seven league games, seven straight losses. Since Dyer replaced Angelo Alessio, he had lost all five of his games. It was not good enough and he knew it.

The hosts started fairly brightly. A fumble from Nathan Baxter forced a goal-line clearance of Brophy's strike by Richard Foster. In the aftermath, Rory McKenzie was shoved to the ground in the box but referee Willie Collum was unmoved.

County were not quite penned into their own half, but they hardly got near the opposition's box. That was until 26 minutes into the game, when a ball was whipped in from the right-hand side. Two defenders were drawn towards the ball and, while one managed to head it out, it was only as far as Vigurs, who spanked in a half-volley of the highest quality. Laurentiu Branescu had no chance.

As the whistle blew for half-time, Dyer probably could not believe his misfortune. His team had hardly put a foot wrong - they had not been great, but they did not deserve to be 1-0 down.

When you have lost your last seven league games, only scored two goals during that spell and without a league win in your last nine, it would be a normal reaction to lose a bit of faith.

But Kilmarnock's start to the second-half was purposeful. They were not prepared to succumb to an eighth consecutive defeat, especially to a team on long winless run themselves. They drove with the ball, they caused County problems, and they got their reward.

Brophy was a man on a mission - his team needed a goalscorer and he duly stepped up to the plate. His first was explosive, picking up the ball on the left-hand side of the box, shifting it onto his right before firing in a strike that proved too powerful for Baxter to handle.

Eamonn Brophy scored two goals in one game for the first time since December 2018

Two minutes later, Chris Burke smelt blood. The 36-year-old burst into the box, and Coll Donaldson clumsily brought him down. It was not the heaviest of challenges, but the contact was sufficient enough for Collum to point to the spot. Brophy held his nerve and dispatched the penalty straight down the middle.

It was no less than the hosts deserved. A fine second-half performance ensued and they knocked the ball around with real confidence. Kabamba had been bright all game, and put the icing on the cake for his side with a well-taken header from Burke's free-kick.

With fixtures against Aberdeen, Rangers and Celtic over the next few weeks, it could turn out to be an important three points.

As for County, there is great cause for concern. No wins since before Christmas, dumped out of the Scottish Cup by a team in the division below, and their performances are lacking quality. Co-managers Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson will be looking nervously over their shoulders, with Hearts and St Mirren both gaining ground.

Man of the Match - Chris Burke

BBC Sport Scotland's Jane Lewis at Rugby Park

Burke was lively on the wing all afternoon and his trickery caused County all manner of problems. His delivery is, for the most part, inch-perfect too. His experience will be vital.

Both his footwork and his accuracy was central to two of the Kilmarnock goals. He was fouled in the box for a penalty and then his well-delivered free-kick was brilliantly headed in to wrap up three badly needed points.

'We got what we deserved' - reaction

Kilmarnock manager Alex Dyer: "The players dug in, they knew that they were playing well and knew they'd get the chances to score, which they did.

"They deserve what they got today - it's been a long run but today was a good day and hopefully we can build on it now."

Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell: "It was an okay first-half performance away from home but we feel that we just capitulated in the second half.

"We don't cover ourselves in glory, that's for sure. We know we have to be streets better than what we were in the second half."

Line-ups

Kilmarnock

Formation 4-4-2

  • 12Branescu
  • 2O'Donnell
  • 26Del Fabro
  • 17Findlay
  • 14Hämäläinen
  • 29BurkeSubstituted forBroadfootat 88'minutes
  • 6PowerBooked at 64mins
  • 8Dicker
  • 7McKenzieSubstituted forBunnat 85'minutes
  • 9BrophySubstituted forKiltieat 79'minutes
  • 27Kabamba

Substitutes

  • 10Kiltie
  • 11Bunn
  • 15El Makrini
  • 19Broadfoot
  • 22Millen
  • 24Koprivec
  • 25St. Clair

Ross County

Formation 4-3-3

  • 21Baxter
  • 2Fraser
  • 15Watson
  • 25Donaldson
  • 18FosterBooked at 31mins
  • 22TillsonSubstituted forPatonat 73'minutes
  • 11VigursBooked at 88mins
  • 26CowieBooked at 44minsSubstituted forSpittalat 65'minutes
  • 14Mullin
  • 19ShawSubstituted forMckayat 72'minutes
  • 8Erwin

Substitutes

  • 1Laidlaw
  • 3Kelly
  • 4Fontaine
  • 9Mckay
  • 16Spence
  • 20Spittal
  • 24Paton
Referee:
William Collum
Attendance:
4,733

Match Stats

Home TeamKilmarnockAway TeamRoss County
Possession
Home46%
Away54%
Shots
Home20
Away7
Shots on Target
Home6
Away5
Corners
Home5
Away3
Fouls
Home10
Away16

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Kilmarnock 3, Ross County 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Kilmarnock 3, Ross County 1.

  3. Booking

    Iain Vigurs (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Iain Vigurs (Ross County).

  5. Post update

    Nicke Kabamba (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Kilmarnock. Kirk Broadfoot replaces Chris Burke.

  7. Post update

    Offside, Kilmarnock. Stephen O'Donnell tries a through ball, but Nicke Kabamba is caught offside.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Dario Del Fabro.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Kilmarnock. Harry Bunn replaces Rory McKenzie.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Blair Spittal (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  11. Post update

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

  12. Post update

    Foul by Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock).

  13. Goal!

    Goal! Kilmarnock 3, Ross County 1. Nicke Kabamba (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Chris Burke with a cross following a set piece situation.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Iain Vigurs (Ross County).

  15. Post update

    Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  16. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Lee Erwin (Ross County) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Richard Foster.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Kilmarnock. Greg Kiltie replaces Eamonn Brophy.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Stephen O'Donnell (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Chris Burke.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Stephen O'Donnell (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Chris Burke.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Nathan Baxter.

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