Defensive drills pay off as Ross County beat St Johnstone
The Staggies opened the campaign with back-to-back wins but then took just two points from the five games that followed. Last weekend’s 5-0 hammering from Celtic was the lowest point of that bleak run, but Kettlewell made sure his team learned the lessons from that painful defeat.
He laid on a series of defensive drills aimed at ensuring the sloppy mistakes at the back which handed Neil Lennon’s team victory were not repeated. And it paid off as County stood strong in Perth, protecting the lead Iain Vigurs’ goal had given them as St Johnstone chased a late equaliser.
“It was role reversal to last week’s result against Celtic,” said a delighted Kettlewell. “I thought we were better in open play last week than this week. But we defended our penalty box manfully.
“The players are as angry and frustrated as anyone after what happened last week.
“I watched them through the week and there were a few reminders to one another that that doesn’t happen again.
“We tried to create similar scenarios to the goals we conceded last week and there were similar ones today that we dealt with. We set up a situation where we can practise it, but it’s up to the players to act on it during a game and they did today.”
Vigurs, pictured, claimed the only goal three minutes before the break when his free-kick from the right channel was allowed to drift all the way to the back post and into Saints’ net.
It was the seventh time in eight games that St Johnstone had conceded first.
Scott Tanser came closest to an equaliser when he fired against the bar after the break, but boss Callum Davidson was left frustrated.
“To go in 1-0 down and to lose a goal like that is obviously hard to take,” he said. “I thought second half when you give a team something to hang on to it is hard to break them down.
“For me I would be really disappointed if we stopped doing what we are trying to do.”
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