RICHARD Brittain is in severe danger of missing the season’s opener against Celtic after a ridiculous red card in Den Bosch.
Scorer: FC Den Bosch - Zeldenrust (85)
The Ross County captain’s retaliatory trip after taking an elbow looked innocuous, but was bizarrely punished with a straight red card after 78 minutes. It was a case of lightning striking twice for the Staggies, who lost midfielder Stuart Kettlewell for last season’s kick-off after a red card against the same opponents.
Manager Derek Adams was dismayed. He said: “It is not right what’s happened. It is the second time we’ve played Den Bosch and the second time we’ve had a sending-off for an innocuous challenge. It’s hard because we’ve lost another player for the first game of the season – and that’s not right. To lose Richard against Celtic would be terrible, but we’ll wait to see what transpires over the next few days. I don’t know if there are avenues for appeal but I will find out.”
County have already lost Ivan Sproule to a two-game suspension and Dutch midfielder Melvin De Leeuw to injury. The sickener cast a pall on a decent showing by County before a late Den Bosch winner.
Two of County’s homecoming Dutchmen – Marc Klok and Darren Maatsen – started in midfield. But there was no place for ex-Swiss under-21 international striker Orhan Mustafi, who remains on trial with the club.
Watched by around 40 sun-baked Staggies in the 1000-plus crowd, County were still honing plans 11 days ahead of that Celtic Park trip.
It was a sweltering 34C on the newly-laid and unpredictable artificial pitch and neither side could stamp their mark in a low-key first half.
Play remained deadlocked on the hour, but substitute Furhgill Zeldenrust flashed a low attempt across goal a minute later. County made six changes soon after, blooding captain Richard Brittain, Ivan Sproule, Ben Gordon, Kevin Luckassen, Mihael Kovacevic and Rocco Quinn.
Brittain rattled a free kick just over the bar, but 12 minutes from time Den Bosch midfielder Stijn de Looijer won the ball with a swing of the elbow, the County captain retaliated with a blatant trip and, to County’s astonishment, referee Jereon Manschot pulled out a red card. To rub salt in the wound, Furghill Zeldenrust scored the winner with five minutes left.
Ross County: Fraser; Saunders, Micic, Munro, Boyd, Kettlewell, Maatsen, Klok, Ross, Glen, Cooper. Subs: Brown, Kovcevic, Gordon, Brittain, Quinn, Sproule, Luckassen.