Rangers made it three wins in three against Ross County this season with a 2-1 win in Dingwall on Sunday. Goals from Candeias and Cummings were enough to see off the Staggies and put Rangers back into second place.
Rangers started with the same team which played against Aberdeen. New signing Greg Docherty was on the bench, with Hodson missing out completely. For Ross County, top scorer Craig Curran and winger Davis Keillor-Dunn started. Harry Souttar replaced injured captain Andrew Davies.
The game started relatively slowly. Candeias got a shot off inside the first couple of minutes from outside the box, but it took until 15 minutes to get the first real chance. A ball from Windass almost played in Morelos, but he couldn’t get a shot off. From his cutback, Holt curled an effort that looked goalbound, but was deflected clear.
David Bates was unlucky not to score from a Jamie Murphy corner, as his flick hit the post. Rangers were dominating the game, but not quite finding the final pass. Good link up between Morelos and Windass would break down at the vital moment, and crosses would be cleared. On the 21st minute, all the defending by County was undone by a goalkeeping error which broke the deadlock.
Candeias was finding some space drifting inside, and picked up the ball inside the County half. He drove forward, and hit a shot from around 30 yards which should have been saved by McCarey. However, his technique was very poor, and the ball went through him and into the net.
The rest of the half followed a similar pattern – Rangers creating chances, but not quite finding the finish. Morelos broke free, after beating a defender, but his left foot shot was dragged wide. It was a glaring miss. Goss tested the keeper with a good shot from the edge of the box, which was saved this time around. With around 5 minutes to go, Murphy drew a save from the keeper with a good header from a Tavernier cross.
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When the half time whistle blew, County were yet to produce a shot on goal. Rangers should have been further ahead.
County started the second half with more purpose. A couple of efforts were blocked as Rangers didn’t do quite as well on the ball. However, on the 50th minute, Windass should have made it 2-0. His run was picked out by Candeias, and Windass done well to turn the defender and get himself one on one with the keeper. His curled effort was easily saved, the finish not matching the good work beforehand.
From there, the game dipped in terms of quality. Rangers were struggling to keep the ball as well, and County were getting forward but not creating much of note. A penalty claim from County was overlooked, as the ball hit Bates’ hand from close range. After multiple replays, it was still difficult to get a consensus on the decision.
It took a couple of substitutions by Rangers to get the tempo up again. Docherty replaced Goss on 74 minutes, and Cummings came on for Morelos on 77 minutes. After only 4 minutes, the latter scored his first goal for Rangers. Draper played a very poor ball back which Cummings picked up just inside the opposing half. The striker drove forward, clearly looking to get the ball on his left foot and shoot. A good run from Docherty on the outside meant that the defenders allowed Cummings to cut in, and his shot deflected off of a defender on it’s way into the far post. As you would expect, the players and fans celebrated the goal wildly, with the cult status Cummings already has heightening emotions.
On the 90th minute, County pulled a goal back. Ngog hit a strong shot which hit Martin on the hand. The defender had no intention to handle, and the penalty decision was harsh. Ngog stepped up to take the kick, and placed it well into the bottom corner.
With 4 minutes of injury time, County looked to put Rangers under pressure. However, the away side stood up to the longer balls and aerial threat to take a deserved three points from the match. Given that Rangers couldn’t win in three attempts against County last season, it was pleasing to see a third win this time around.
ROSS COUNTY (4-5-1):
McCarey; Naismith, Souttar, Fraser, Van Der Weg; Gardyne, O’Brien, Routis (Chow 8), Draper, Keillor-Dunn (Schalk 77); Curran (Ngog 54)
SUBS NOT USED: Fox, Effiong, McKay, Dingwall
BOOKINGS: Naismith, Chow
Foderingham; Tavernier, Bates, Martin, John; Goss (Docherty 74), Holt; Candeias (Halliday 83), Windass, Murphy; Morelos (Cummings 77)
SUBS NOT USED: Alnwick, Cardoso, Herrera, Kranjcar