Published: 01/02/2014 17:05 - Updated: 01/02/2014 17:36

Ten-man Ross County held at the death by Kilmarnock

Written byby Paul Chalk

Ross County manager Derek Adams saw his side held at the death by Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.
Ross County manager Derek Adams saw his side held at the death by Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

KRIS Boyd hit a deadly double – including a last-gasp leveller – to seal a 2-2 draw for Kilmarnock at home to Ross County in the Scottish Premiership.

A late red card for Filip Kiss gave the hosts a lift as they stormed back in monsoon conditions to recover a 2-0 half-time deficit against the 10th-placed Staggies.

County had generally started well in 2014, but were looking to bounce back from the set-back 2-1 defeat by Hearts a week ago.

Full-back Erik Cikos, who became Derek Adams' latest loanee after joining last night from Slovan Bratislava and he was named on the bench, with the starting 11 remaining the same.

County's Swiss defender Branislav Micic left the club by mutual consent in the final hours before the transfer window deadline and the visitors were also without the suspended Stuart Kettlewell and injured Steven Saunders.

The hosts were boosted by the signing for the second time of fans' favourite Alexei Eremenko and he made the subs' bench.

The retention of 13-goal striker Kris Boyd, who was wanted by Nottingham Forest and Blackpool during the transfer window which shut on Friday night, was another reason for home fans to smile. He returned to the side after being left out of the midweek 4-0 defeat at champions elect Celtic.

On-loan Sunderland winger David Moberg Karlsson, a £1.5 million signing for the Black Cats from IFK Gothenburg, didn't make the squad.

Sean Clohessy was sidelined with an ankle knock for Kilmarnock, while Darren Barr was out due to a hip injury.

It was the home side which began with the bit between their teeth in the bitterly cold sweeping rain and sleet though and Boyd went close with an early chance before Jordan Slew fired over the top in the Staggies' first sight at goal when he was picked out by Graham Carey.

Around the 15 minute mark, Killie fans were warmed up by two close calls.

Firstly, Rory Mckenzie tied the Staggies defence in knots before his shot was saved by keeper Michael Fraser then Robbie Muirhead steered a drive inches wide after cutting into the box.

Five minutes later, a free-kick won by Yoann Arquinn, was played by Richard Brittain on to the lurking Filip Kiss and his drive was pushed clear by Craig Samson then Carey's follow-up was also saved superbly by the keeper.

Two quick-fire goals put County in control of the contest.

The breakthrough came after half an hour when Arquin shot County in front with a cool, right-footed finish after being played through by Kiss.

Then, seven minutes later, after stepping the pace up further, it was 2-0 when Carey's delivery into the box was headed into the net by Yann Songo'o. The conclusion to the move caused great confusion with regards to who scored it, but it was credited to the Cameroon stopper on loan from Blackburn Rovers.

The Killie fans were less than happy with their team's defending, but County were thrilled to be in the driving seat before half-time.

The Rugby Park fans who saw a 2-0 win here a week ago against Caley Thistle were less than happy as the booed the side off the pitch at the break.

However, they were back on their feet when Boyd hauled the scoreline back to 2-1 just two minutes after the restart when he connected with a Muirhead corner.

Moments later, McKenzie almost equalised for fired-up Killie, but his 20-yarder smashed off the left post and to safety.

Boyd and Muirhead went close with another couple of opportunities as the relentless rain was making the pitch packed with puddles in several areas.

With 14 minutes left, County were reduced to 10 men when Kiss was sent off for a second bookable offence, which seemed harsh for a sliding challenge in the rain.

The were seconds away from earning all three points when that man Boyd pounced to steer a cross from sub Chris Johnston into the net to seal a dramatic share of the spoils.

Tempers boiled over after the match, with the hosts delighted and County rocked by the late, unwanted, ending. The feeling for the away camp afterwards was that neither Boyd goal should have stood due to a handball for the first and a push for the second.

The Dingwall side return to action on February 15 with a trip to Easter Road to face Hibernian.

Kilmarnock: Samson, Tesselaar (Johnston 83), Irvine, Clingan, Boyd, McKenzie, Slater, Pascali, Ashcroft, Muirhead, Kiltie (Ermenko 68). Subs not used: Reguero (GK), Nicholson, Maksimenko, Gardyne, O'Hara.

Ross County: Fraser, Gordon, Kiss, Brittain, Tidser (Cooper 64), McLean, Carey, Slew (de Leeuw 73), Oikonomou, Arquin (Quinn 88), Songo'o. Subs not used: Brown (GK), Cikos, Boyd, Glen.

Referee: Crawford Allan.

Attendance: 3,372.

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