Scottish Premiership
Ross CountyRoss County3MotherwellMotherwell1

Ross County 3-1 Motherwell: Red card 'galvanised' 10-man hosts to vital victory, says Mackay

By Nick McPheatBBC Scotland
Charles-Cook goal v Motherwell
Ross County forward Regan Charles-Cook scored twice with the home side down to 10 men

Manager Malky Mackay says his 10-man Ross County side were "galvanised" by Jordan Tillson's red card as they beat Motherwell to move five points clear of the Scottish Premiership's bottom two.

County took the lead when Sondre Solholm swiped into his own net before the visitors deservedly levelled with Jordan Roberts' fine 20-yard strike.

The game turned on Tillson's dismissal just before the hour, but the hosts rallied and regained the lead through Regan Charles-Cook, who then added a third from the spot.

"I'm delighted for them," Mackay said. "It was a tough first half. Getting the goal to go into half-time was terrific. The sending off galvanised us. Off the back of that, every time we broke we looked a real threat.

"I thought we defended really well. As a whole, the lads pulled together to make sure we went on to get a terrific win against a team flying high in the league."

The victory keeps Mackay's side 10th, but they are now seven points clear of the foot of the table.

County have been guilty of getting themselves involved in basketball-like encounters this season, but Mackay's side started this one in cagey fashion as Motherwell dominated the ball.

The visitors created little with it, though, but began to show more threat when Kevin van Veen had a near-post effort blocked before Solholm's header looped over.

County were dealt two blows when winger Joseph Hungbo and midfielder David Cancola had to come off injured. And they almost found themselves behind to go along with that bad fortune when Barry Maguire and Van Veen both had strikes from outside the area drift just wide of the right-hand post.

But out of nowhere, the home side gained the lead in first-half stoppage time when the influential Charles-Cook beat Bevis Mugabi on the left before cutting inside and seeing an effort swiped in by Solholm.

In a similar theme to the first half, the away side enjoyed the majority of the ball as they searched for a route back into the game, but were struggling to create until Roberts' stunner.

Van Veen broke up the left and fed a ball across, allowing Roberts to take a touch and rifle a strike into the top-right corner.

The game looked to have turned when Tillson saw red for a two-footed challenge on Liam Donnelly, but the 10 men of County found another gear.

The hosts capitalised on cheap Motherwell defending as Dominic Samuel's cross could only be cleared as far as Charles-Cook, who finished low past Liam Kelly.

And the County winger sealed an unlikely three points when a cross off Mugabi's hand allowed the Grenada international to slot a penalty home.

Man of the match - Regan Charles-Cook

Regan Charles-Cook
There was only one candidate. The 24-year-old now has six league goals to his name this term and is absolutely vital to his side's quest for survival.

What did we learn?

To survive in this unforgiving league you need players to stand tall when the chips are down, and Mackay has that in abundance.

After Roberts' equaliser and Tillson's red card, it looked like the game would only go one way. But County dug in and showed immense bravery to take the game to the 11 men of the visitors.

Motherwell have had days like this with Tony Watt in the side, but Alexander's men were wasteful in their first game following the departure of their former attacking talisman.

But a lot of that poor attacking play was in the Fir Park side's approach, with hopeful high balls a constant route to goal.

More slack defending will also concern Alexander, an issue that will have to be addressed if the Lanarkshire club have any hope of remaining in the league's top four.

What did they say?

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander: "We threw the game away. We were completely dominant right up to half-time. We had good opportunities to score and started the second half in same fashion.

"The red card for them softened us up mentally. We played worse when they went down to 10 men and allowed them to play better. That's what happens when you take it easy."

What's next?

Both sides are in Scottish Cup action on Saturday (15:00 GMT) as Motherwell host Championship side Morton and Ross County go to fellow Premiership club Livingston.

Player of the match

RandallConnor Randall

with an average of 8.78

Ross County

  1. Squad number2Player nameRandall
    Average rating

    8.78

  2. Squad number17Player nameCharles-Cook
    Average rating

    8.06

  3. Squad number20Player nameDrysdale
    Average rating

    7.71

  4. Squad number16Player nameIacovitti
    Average rating

    7.44

  5. Squad number3Player nameVokins
    Average rating

    7.40

  6. Squad number26Player nameWhite
    Average rating

    7.38

  7. Squad number18Player nameBurroughs
    Average rating

    7.26

  8. Squad number8Player nameCallachan
    Average rating

    7.13

  9. Squad number10Player nameSamuel
    Average rating

    7.06

  10. Squad number19Player nameRamsay
    Average rating

    6.92

  11. Squad number7Player nameSpittal
    Average rating

    6.84

  12. Squad number23Player nameHungbo
    Average rating

    6.60

  13. Squad number31Player nameMaynard-Brewer
    Average rating

    6.57

  14. Squad number4Player nameCancola
    Average rating

    6.51

  15. Squad number22Player nameTillson
    Average rating

    6.22

Motherwell

  1. Squad number27Player nameGoss
    Average rating

    5.81

  2. Squad number28Player nameRoberts
    Average rating

    5.49

  3. Squad number9Player namevan Veen
    Average rating

    5.47

  4. Squad number5Player nameMugabi
    Average rating

    5.32

  5. Squad number22Player nameDonnelly
    Average rating

    5.31

  6. Squad number7Player nameWoolery
    Average rating

    5.22

  7. Squad number2Player nameO'Donnell
    Average rating

    5.18

  8. Squad number1Player nameKelly
    Average rating

    4.97

  9. Squad number6Player nameMaguire
    Average rating

    4.92

  10. Squad number19Player nameMcGinley
    Average rating

    4.77

  11. Squad number21Player nameSolholm Johansen
    Average rating

    4.68

  12. Squad number17Player nameAmaluzor
    Average rating

    3.70

  13. Squad number29Player nameShields
    Average rating

    2.48

Line-ups

Ross County

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 31Maynard-Brewer
  • 2Randall
  • 20Drysdale
  • 16Iacovitti
  • 3Vokins
  • 4CancolaSubstituted forTillsonat 29'minutesBooked at 59mins
  • 7Spittal
  • 23HungboSubstituted forSamuelat 19'minutes
  • 8Callachan
  • 17Charles-CookBooked at 60minsSubstituted forRamsayat 82'minutes
  • 26WhiteSubstituted forBurroughsat 82'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Laidlaw
  • 9Samuel
  • 10Samuel
  • 18Burroughs
  • 19Ramsay
  • 22Tillson
  • 24Paton
  • 30Wright
  • 32Mackinnon

Motherwell

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Kelly
  • 2O'DonnellBooked at 63mins
  • 5Mugabi
  • 21Solholm Johansen
  • 19McGinley
  • 22Donnelly
  • 6MaguireSubstituted forShieldsat 78'minutes
  • 27Goss
  • 7WoolerySubstituted forAmaluzorat 87'minutes
  • 9van Veen
  • 28RobertsBooked at 60mins

Substitutes

  • 3Carroll
  • 12Fox
  • 15O'Connor
  • 16Slattery
  • 17Amaluzor
  • 18Cornelius
  • 23Grimshaw
  • 29Shields
  • 31Morrison
Referee:
John Beaton
Attendance:
2,523

Match Stats

Home TeamRoss CountyAway TeamMotherwell
Possession
Home43%
Away57%
Shots
Home5
Away13
Shots on Target
Home2
Away3
Corners
Home5
Away6
Fouls
Home14
Away9

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Ross County 3, Motherwell 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Ross County 3, Motherwell 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Bevis Mugabi (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Connor Shields with a cross following a set piece situation.

  4. Post update

    Nathan McGinley (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Kayne Ramsay (Ross County).

  6. Post update

    Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Nathan McGinley.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Motherwell. Justin Amaluzor replaces Kaiyne Woolery.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Stephen O'Donnell (Motherwell).

  9. Post update

    Jack Burroughs (Ross County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  10. Post update

    Offside, Ross County. Connor Randall tries a through ball, but Ross Callachan is caught offside.

  11. Post update

    Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Connor Shields.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Bevis Mugabi (Motherwell).

  13. Post update

    Dominic Samuel (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Ross County. Jack Burroughs replaces Jordan White.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Ross County. Kayne Ramsay replaces Regan Charles-Cook.

  16. Post update

    Offside, Motherwell. Sondre Solholm Johansen tries a through ball, but Kevin van Veen is caught offside.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Sondre Solholm Johansen (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Jake Vokins.

  19. Post update

    Goal! Ross County 3, Motherwell 1. Regan Charles-Cook (Ross County) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

  20. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Bevis Mugabi (Motherwell) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Rangers20163143142951
2Celtic20143342123045
3Hearts20106429181136
4Motherwell209472527-231
5Hibernian208572422229
6Aberdeen208392524127
7Dundee Utd207491623-725
8Livingston2055101626-1020
9St Mirren2031071831-1319
10Ross County2046102735-818
11Dundee2044121837-1916
12St Johnstone2035121125-1414
View full Scottish Premiership table

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