Hamilton 0-1 Ross County: Billy Mckay fires Staggies to the top

Accies boss Rice refuses to point finger of blame at keeper

Billy Mckay scores for Ross County against Hamilton. Picture: Alan Harvey / SNS
Billy Mckay scores for Ross County against Hamilton. Picture: Alan Harvey / SNS

Brian Rice refused to point the finger of blame at Hamilton goalkeeper Ryan Fulton for the mistake which handed Ross County a 1-0 victory. The former Liverpool youngster spilled an Iain Vigurs cross with 15 minutes left and looked on in horror as Billy Mckay fired home the winner.

Rice, however, was in forgiving mood as he insisted his keeper had been impeded. But the Accies manager hit out at the rest of his team for their failure to respond to County’s late strike.

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Rice – whose side have now lost both their first two fixtures – said: “I’m not going to be too harsh on the goalkeeper. He made some good saves earlier and I actually think David Moyo headed the ball out of his hands. Unfortunately they both went for the same ball and they collided with each other.

“What disappointed me most was our reaction after they went ahead. We were too naive and picked the wrong option too often when we had dangerous players on the park like David Templeton.

“We need to be more streetwise if we want to start picking up points.”

Lee Erwin should have fired the visitors ahead seven minutes in as Harry Paton picked out the unmarked striker at the back post. But Fulton rescued the hosts with a brave save at point-blank range.

Accies created their first opening when Callum Smith drove in from the left, forcing Ross Laidlaw down to his right to smother. And the County keeper had to be alert again just before the break, parrying away as the same Hamilton player wriggled free to fire a strike at goal.

It was County, however, who stepped things up after the break.

Accies had their collective hearts in their mouths when Fulton flapped at a Josh Mullin cross but Mckay could not force the loose ball home. But the keeper was at fault again as Mckay clinched the three points with 15 minutes left.

When he failed to hold Vigurs’ cross the ball broke kindly for the Northern Irishman, who buried the ball at the second attempt.

Moyo had a late chance to rescue a point for Hamilton but his header was straight at Laidlaw.

County sit joint top of the table after they followed up Monday night’s win over Motherwell by claiming another three points.

They now have a run of four winnable games, with Kilmarnock and Dundee United set to visit Dingwall before Ross County head for St Mirren and Livingston. But manager Stuart Kettlewell is refusing to get too excited just yet.

“It’s a brilliant win on the road,” he said. “We got two away wins last year and now we’ve already got one this season. What I don’t want to do is be sitting here in months’ time looking for my next one.

“I’ve just said that to the players about trying to push boundaries and see where that will take us.

“We’ve got this result today but now we’ve got two home games and we need to look at how we can piece together some sort of home record.

“We’re not going to get carried away. I’ve been stung by things like that before.

“I’m not one for shouting my mouth off and I don’t want any of my players doing that either.”

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