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Ross County 0-0 St Johnstone: Malky Mackay targets three signings after draw

Ali McCann misses a penalty for St Johnstone
Ali McCann passed up the game’s best chance with a penalty that was too high

Malky Mackay hopes to add three players to his Ross County squad on Tuesday but expects the remainder of the summer transfer window to be “bumpy”.

County and St Johnstone played out a 0-0 draw in Saturday’s opening day of Scottish Premiership fixtures.

Ali McCann could have put the Perth side ahead but blazed his penalty over with 20 minutes remaining.

“We’ve got a tough month coming up. This transfer window is going to be bumpy,” Mackay told BBC Scotland.

“It’s a change at the club – 15 players leaving, so many players are going to have to come in. The transition will take a bit of time but we’ll get there.

“We’re hoping to have maybe three signings done by Tuesday morning. We do that and then we look to maybe another couple by the end of the week. I need to not have the kids on the bench at the moment.”

Regan Charles-Cook was left all alone as he headed over the St Johnstone goal moments before Reece Devine’s low shot was deflected wide at the other end in the early stages of the match.

County’s Ross Callachan should have ended the impasse after going beyond his team-mates from midfield and dragging a shot across the face of goal, Charles-Cook not far enough advanced to add a finishing touch from the left side of the box.

With little change coming from St Johnstone’s defence, manager Mackay withdrew Dominic Samuel and sent on Oli Shaw moments before the game’s biggest talking point.

Devine skilfully brought the ball down near the bye-line and was knocked over by Donaldson, who appealed in vain that his challenge did not constitute a foul.

But it mattered little as McCann got under his shot to let Donaldson and County off the hook.

St Johnstone were now in the ascendancy and Callum Davidson introduced Stevie May, Chris Kane and Liam Craig.

And it almost paid off as Kane teed up May, whose shot was kept out by Ross Laidlaw and Craig slid in to smack the rebound off the outside of the left-hand post.

May was off target with a last-minute header as both sides settled for a point.

Man of the match – Reece Devine

Reece Devine
The left-back was involved in some of Saints’ best attacking moves and showed himself an able replacement for the departed Scott Tanser

What did we learn?

Given the penalty miss and the visitors’ strong finish, County will be more grateful of the point than St Johnstone.

The league season may only be one game old but this could be one of the most physical matches both teams face.

Referee Colin Steven showed leniency in the early stages but eventually had to start yellow-carding offenders as robust challenges went in.

And the rising free-kick count prevented the match building up any sort of momentum.

What did they say?

Ross County manager Malky Mackay: “I’m delighted with the fact we actually kept a clean sheet, worked hard and got the result in the end.

“It probably was a penalty. It would’ve been really harsh if the game had been decided by that. It was a very even game. A point each was probably the right result.”

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: “It’s a hard one. First game of the season, you’re always a little bit apprehensive over how it’s going to turn out.

“I was pleased with the second-half performance. The penalty miss, that’s part of football. I thought it was a penalty. It’s just unfortunate we didn’t score it. It’s just one of those things.”

What’s next?

St Johnstone enter the European arena on Thursday with the first leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie with Galatasaray in Turkey (19:00).

Their first home league game of the season is against Motherwell next Sunday, when Ross County visit Hibernian (both 15:00).

Player of the match

LaidlawRoss Laidlaw

with an average of 9.46

Ross County

  1. Squad number1Player nameLaidlaw

    Average rating

    9.46

  2. Squad number8Player nameCallachan

    Average rating

    8.39

  3. Squad number15Player nameWatson

    Average rating

    6.57

  4. Squad number7Player nameSpittal

    Average rating

    6.40

  5. Squad number26Player nameWhite

    Average rating

    6.21

  6. Squad number22Player nameTillson

    Average rating

    6.20

  7. Squad number10Player nameSamuel

    Average rating

    6.07

  8. Squad number2Player nameRandall

    Average rating

    6.03

  9. Squad number9Player nameShaw

    Average rating

    5.85

  10. Squad number16Player nameIacovitti

    Average rating

    5.80

  11. Squad number25Player nameDonaldson

    Average rating

    5.78

  12. Squad number17Player nameCharles-Cook

    Average rating

    5.66

  13. Squad number6Player namePaton

    Average rating

    5.06

St Johnstone

  1. Squad number3Player nameDevine

    Average rating

    6.65

  2. Squad number22Player nameHendry

    Average rating

    6.64

  3. Squad number10Player nameWotherspoon

    Average rating

    6.58

  4. Squad number19Player nameRooney

    Average rating

    6.48

  5. Squad number11Player nameO’Halloran

    Average rating

    6.46

  6. Squad number4Player nameMcCart

    Average rating

    6.32

  7. Squad number8Player nameDavidson

    Average rating

    6.29

  8. Squad number1Player nameClark

    Average rating

    6.01

  9. Squad number18Player nameMcCann

    Average rating

    5.99

  10. Squad number26Player nameCraig

    Average rating

    5.93

  11. Squad number7Player nameMay

    Average rating

    5.70

  12. Squad number9Player nameKane

    Average rating

    5.16

  13. Squad number6Player nameGordon

    Average rating

    5.05

  14. Squad number5Player nameKerr

    Average rating

    4.21

Line-ups

Ross County

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Laidlaw
  • 25DonaldsonBooked at 70mins
  • 15Watson
  • 16Iacovitti
  • 2Randall
  • 8Callachan
  • 22Tillson
  • 7SpittalBooked at 66minsSubstituted forPatonat 68′minutes
  • 17Charles-Cook
  • 26WhiteBooked at 31mins
  • 10SamuelBooked at 52minsSubstituted forShawat 65′minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Paton
  • 9Shaw
  • 11Robertson
  • 21Munro
  • 30Wright
  • 33Williamson
  • 34MacLeman

St Johnstone

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Clark
  • 5Kerr
  • 6Gordon
  • 4McCart
  • 19RooneyBooked at 71mins
  • 18McCann
  • 8Davidson
  • 10WotherspoonSubstituted forCraigat 83′minutes
  • 3Devine
  • 11O’HalloranSubstituted forMayat 76′minutes
  • 22HendrySubstituted forKaneat 76′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Brown
  • 7May
  • 9Kane
  • 12Parish
  • 16Muller
  • 23Ballantyne
  • 26Craig

Referee:
Colin Steven

Attendance:
1,990

Match Stats

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Ross County 0, St. Johnstone 0.

  2. Second Half ends, Ross County 0, St. Johnstone 0.

  3. Attempt blocked. Coll Donaldson (Ross County) header from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Harrison Paton with a cross.

  4. Foul by Alistair McCann (St. Johnstone).

  5. Harrison Paton (Ross County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  6. Hand ball by Liam Craig (St. Johnstone).

  7. Attempt missed. Stevie May (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Liam Craig with a cross following a corner.

  8. Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Oli Shaw.

  9. Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Foul by Alex Iacovitti (Ross County).

  11. Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Jordan Tillson.

  12. Attempt blocked. Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right is blocked.

  13. Jason Kerr (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  14. Foul by Harrison Paton (Ross County).

  15. Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) hits the left post with a left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box.

  16. Attempt saved. Stevie May (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Christopher Kane.

  17. Substitution, St. Johnstone. Liam Craig replaces David Wotherspoon.

  18. Substitution, St. Johnstone. Christopher Kane replaces Callum Hendry.

  19. Substitution, St. Johnstone. Stevie May replaces Michael O’Halloran.

  20. Coll Donaldson (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

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