Published: 30/09/2017 16:43 - Updated: 02/10/2017 12:10

Owen Coyle tastes victory in first game as Ross County boss as Staggies cruise to Killie win

Written byJamie Durent

Owen Coyle got the call from Roy MacGregor on Monday afternoon. Picture: Ken Macpherson.
Owen Coyle won his first game as Ross County boss. Picture: Ken Macpherson.

 

ROSS County cruised to a 2-0 win against Kilmarnock in Owen Coyle's first game in charge.

Goals from Craig Curran and Kenny van der Weg before the break made it a comfortable afternoon for Coyle and the Staggies, against a shot-shy Kilmarnock.

All the good football came from County and Curran's header, followed by van der Weg's rampage forward, brought them the goals their superiority deserved.

It is County's first win since the opening day of the season and takes them four points clear of the bottom.

Coyle made two changes in his first game in charge, dropping Reghan Tumilty and Billy Mckay for Jamie Lindsay and Davis Keillor-Dunn.

The new-look Staggies were the aggressors early on, forcing a succession of corners without creating a clear chance at Jamie MacDonald's goal. Jim O'Brien, occupying a deeper central-midfield role, arrowed a dipping shot over the top in the closest opportunity.

A clearer chance came at the other end on 16 minutes after Andrew Davies handed possession to Andrew Frizzell, who carried the ball forward and fizzed an effort over Scott Fox from 20 yards.

MacDonald produced the first save of the game on 21 minutes from Michael Gardyne, following in his own half-cleared free-kick to draw a low stop out of the Killie stopper.

Ross County striker Craig Curran opened the scoring. Picture: Ken Macpherson.
Ross County striker Craig Curran opened the scoring. Picture: Ken Macpherson.

 

The product on show was less than entertaining and it needed a goal to stir something else from both sides. It came on 34 minutes when Keillor-Dunn, lively again, stepped inside and angled a cross into the box for Curran, who steered his header beyond MacDonald from 10 yards.

Killie's home support were growing increasingly agitated at their own side, who were winless heading into the game. Their ire grew further just before the break as van der Weg drove forward, teed up Curran whose shot was blocked, before following in the rebound to slide the ball over MacDonald.

Lee McCulloch introduced Kris Boyd at half-time to go two up top and the hosts briefly put County under pressure but they remained suspect at the back, with Curran and Lindsay coming close.

The second half was a mainly a non-event, with County content to sit in and absorb pressure with Killie completely toothless in attack. One brief highlight was when the superb O'Brien attempted to beat MacDonald from the half-way line, forcing the ex-Hearts and Falkirk goalkeeper to back-pedal and keep the ball out.

The home side's afternoon was summed up by the fact they failed to register a single shot on target, as County ended their six-game wait for a victory.

KILMARNOCK: MacDonald; O'Donnell, Greer, Findlay, Taylor, Thomas, Hawkshaw, Frizzell,Waters (Boyd, 46), Jones, Erwin (Brophy, 71). Subs unused: Bell, Power, Broadfoot, Burke, Spencer. Booked: none.

ROSS COUNTY: Fox; Naismith, Fraser, Davies, van der Weg, Lindsay, Draper (Chow, 64), O'Brien (Kelly, 90), Gardyne, Keillor-Dunn (Dow, 71), Curran. Subs unused: Munro, Schalk, Mikkelsen, Mckay. Booked: none.

Attendance: 3337.

Referee: C Thomson.

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