Published: 25/11/2017 17:50 - Updated: 25/11/2017 18:03

Ross County hold Hearts in Tynecastle stalemate

Written byKenny MacDonald

 

Aaron McCarey was called upon late in the game. Picture: Ken Macpherson.
Aaron McCarey was in sparkling form for Ross County. Picture: Ken Macpherson.

 

ROSS County held on to a valuable point in a 0-0 draw with Hearts at Tynecastle.

County were first out the traps and a brilliant Cruyff-turn by Jim O'Brien in the centre circle saw him shrug off two defenders, before charging forward and feeding the ball wide right for Alex Schalk to crack in a fierce shot which thudded the upright on four minutes.

But after that it was virtually Hearts' Jamie  Walker against County goalkeeper Aaron McCarey and the Dingwall club's number one kept them all out for a brilliant first-half clean sheet.

The first Walker effort cannoned off the chest of McCarey before the Jambos ace curled one from distance which took a deflection to scrape the crossbar.  Arnaud Djoum then hammered a header inches past the right post.

McCarey then made a superb double save to keep the scoresheet blank. He managed to get his body behind a Djoum piledriver then scampered up to block Esmael Goncalves' rebound with his legs.

Walker had another go with a rasping knee-high shot from 25 yards which McCarey appeared to tip around the post but referee John Beaton's goal-kick decision sparked an amazing touchline tirade from both dugouts.

Craig Levein raged at the fourth official for being robbed of a corner whyile County duo Owen Coyle and Sandy Stewart were furious at a clumsy tackle in the build-up.

Next up to test the County stopper was Harry Cochrane with a vicious rising effort, which the shot-stopper beat away just after the half-hour.

But it wasn't all one-way traffic and Sean Kelly had the ball lin the net with an angled 15-yard shot from the left of the box - only to agonise at being ruled offside.

County were dealt a blow when skipper Andrew Davies went down with nobody near him and he limped off for more treatment, before being replaced by sub Jamie Lindsay four minutes from the interval.

The second half was another passionate affair but County held firm and when Walker whipped an invisting ball across the face of goal in 67 minutes, there were no takers .

And the only real chance came when Christophe Berra powered a terrific header with 10 minutes left and goalkeeper McCarey made a stunning one-handed stop on the line bfore blocking the rebound from Goncalves.

Aptly the match ended with another fine save from McCarey, this time after clawing away a high ball from sub Kyle Lafferty. He then scrambled across to block the loose ball from Don Cowie to earn warm praise from team mates.

HEARTS: McLaughlin; Smith, Hughes (Buaben, 45), Berra, Walker, Djoum, Milinkovic, Stockton, Brandon, Cochrane (Cowie, 79), Goncalves (Lafferty, 81). Subs unused: Hamilton, Randall, Callachan, Keena. Booked: Walker, Stockton.

ROSS COUNTY: McCarey; Fraser, Naismith, Routis, Kelly, Gardyne, Schalk (Curran, 72), Davies (Lindsay, 41), Draper, O'Brien (Dow, 60), Keillor-Dunn. Subs unused: Fox, Mckay, van der Weg, Eagles. Booked: O'Brien, Draper.

Referee: J Beaton.

Attendance: 15,601.

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