It is rare for a drawn match – and no classic at that – to emphasise a team and manager’s credentials for attacking, entertaining football. This was the exception that proved the rule.
This 1-1 outcome was Ross County’s first tied encounter in the league in Jim McIntyre’s time as manager. Liam Boyce lashed in the opener in Dingwall just after the hour – his sixth goal of the season – but a Louis Moult penalty followed by a red card for County’s Jay McEveley ensured the hosts’ grip on the game faded.
McIntyre stressed the 30-month statistic was only a reflection of County’s desire to dazzle the home crowd.
“We’re an attacking team with the chances we’ve missed and hitting the bar, plus another disallowed goal. That’s the way we’ll continue to play,” the County manager said. “It’s an entertainment business we’re in and we want to entertain the fans. Before the sending off, we were the team who looked like going on to win the match.”
McIntyre had no gripes about the other big decision, the penalty award, after Scott McDonald tumbled under Scott Fox’s challenge.
Charitably, you could call this one a slow-burner, but towards half-time County were in the ascendancy, with Michael Gardyne striking the bar after 37 minutes.
Boyce missed a couple of decent chances but he made it count for the 61st-minute opener. McEveley’s cross from the left was expertly controlled and laid back by Schalk into Boyce’s path. He clinically tucked the chance away from 15 yards.
County might have been home and dry in 65 minutes had Schalk’s disallowed goal stood, but two minutes later, Motherwell turned the game on its head. Craig Clay played McDonald into the box and the Aussie slipped past the outcoming keeper only to be tripped. Louis Moult, freshly off the bench and back from a groin operation, scored the penalty.
County’s woes then heightened as McEveley received his second yellow card for a foul on McDonald, but neither team could avoid the rare Dingwall outcome of a league draw.