County Counted Out The Cup

Brian Graham holds off Scott Boyd

The Rovers arrived in Dingwall looking to continue their unbeaten run.  Grant Anderson was rested, taking a place on the bench, with Greig Spence coming into the starting 11.  The Rovers remained 4-3-3 as they had finished the Livingston game on Saturday.

County had shuffled their pack and made nine changes from  the side that narrowly beat Dundee – interestingly Derek Adams only switched two of his back four.  The Dingwall side  welcomed new signing keeper Mark Brown.   Midweek away before a Derby game meant that a number of Raith fans chose  to not travel but the small band of travelling fans were rewarded by the best  performance of the season and returned down the A9, hearing pundits talking of  how the final score flattered the home side.

The Rovers started smartly and some good passing probed the  County back line in the 3rd minute.   Fitzpatrick crossed and Morrow headed over in the 6th minute  before Malone’s free kick tested Brown.   The Rovers were getting more of the ball.  Fitzpatrick and Morrow combined again but McGurn claimed the header easily.  In the 14th minute another period  of good Rovers' play saw Spence’s overhead kick from 6 yards go wide, with Brown  flat-footed, having been set up by Thomson’s intelligent header.  Brian Graham got away from the back four but his early shot went wide.

The game had settled into a pattern of Rovers having more  possession and County’s forays forward becoming rarer.  Kurtis Byrne shot over after a lucky bounce  off Stuart Anderson.  The Rovers opened  the scoring in the 24th minute when livewire Graham turned brilliantly to  play in Clarke, who drew the keeper, and left Greig Spence the simplest of tasks to score from 6 yards.  Byrne tried to get the rocking home side back  into the game but McGurn pushed his driven effort wide.  Scott Boyd – the home captain – was short  with a pass and Thomson scampered down the field but his cross was half cut out  by the red-haired defender.

Laurie Ellis - who’d engaged in a curious stretch lying on  his back during a break in play - was replaced by big Colin Wilson in the 29th  minute.  County saw a free kick fly  harmlessly over the Raith bar as their ‘fight back’ fizzled out.  Clarke, who was relishing his wide left attacking  role, shot just wide from 22 yards after a corner with Brown again beaten.  The Rovers were really clicking and County  struggled to concede a corner.  Brian Graham met the cross unhindered  and his front post header whipped into the net, doubling the Raith lead.  Morrow had a long range effort just after the  re-start in the 40th minute which bounced through to McGurn.  Then Byrne got goal side and, as the Raith  support berated the linesman, the Highland man’s touch let him down and McGurn  mopped up.

The travelling fans saw the County side come out early for  the second half – no doubt with Derek Adams' displeasure ringing in their  ears.  However, 15 seconds in, Clarke was  played in by Walker and, taking it on his chest, his volley went just wide from  20 yards.  Walker’s first time shot was  held by the increasingly worked Brown.   Garry Glen forced a save in the 48th minute but, for much of  the second half, Dave McGurn was just another Rovers' spectator.  Another foul by a County man saw Walker whip  in a free kick and Dougie Hill  nodded the third in off the foot of the post.   Eddie Malone had taken a heavy knock to the head as the ball came in but he  played on.

Mark Brown then saved well  from another Clarke effort after Pat was teed up by Spence.  The ex-Old firm keeper then managed to bundle  Pat’s vicious free kick over the bar.   Brown could stop Clarke getting a deserved goal but couldn’t stop Graham  doubling his tally after Hamill’s ball into the box saw Spence’s shot blocked. Brian Graham spun and smashed the ball  low into the side netting to make it 4:0.   Par’s man, Craig Robertson, in the stand probably didn’t expect the Rovers  fans to be chanting “Easy, Easy” as he travelled north, and for some reason he didn’t join in.

The game continued with Mark Brown doing his best to stop Pat  Clarke scoring and the distribution of free pies in the away end did nothing to dampen the mood.  In the 79th  minute, Spence was replaced by Grant Anderson then Hamill was replaced by  Callachan in the 83rd.  County  did little but got a late consolation in the 84th when Glen’s header  back found Russell Duncan whoput it in from close range.

Mark Brown played very well for a debutant and did his bit  to keep the score down.  The Rovers  played well without exception - Anderson and Walker in the midfield linked well and  the front three were dangerous throughout.   Colin Wilson again proved he can come off the bench and do well.  This was a cracking performance and more of  the same along the road on Saturday will keep smiles on Rovers fans' faces.


Report - John Mainland



Library photos, not match footage, copyright Tony Fimister and Eddie Doig .Match action added by courtesy of Ross County

Live Updates

Awaiting Full teamsheets, but County will be without 1st team regulars Tokely, Brittain, Vigurs, Fraser and McMenamin
Rovers team news: one change from Saturdays starting 11 - Spence replaces G Anderson
Raith shooting towards the jailend, County kick off.
Hamill pass to Walker, shoots wide from 6 yards.
Fitzpatrick cross from the left headed over by Morrow.
30 yd Malone free kick held by Brown.
another Fitzpatrick cross, Morrow heads and McGurn holds.
Malone 25 yard R to L pass to Thompson, into Spence, over head kick from ,6 yards just wide right
Graham played through, shoots just wide from 22 yards.
Chance for County. Byrne shoots over from 25 yards.
Goal to Rovers! Graham, Cruyf turns into the box, pass to Spence, 1 - 0
McGurn saves an 18 yard volley from Byrne.
Thompson 30 yard run, keeper saves.
Wilson getting ready to come on for Laurie
Ref gives a soft FK, Kovacevic shoots well over. .
Clarke shoots inches wide from 20 yards
Walker corner form the L/hand side, onto the head of Graham. 2 - 0 Rovers.
HALF TIME: 2-0 to the Rovers (Spence, Graham)
1st half summary: Raith have enjoyed approx 60% of possession...
... Good passing & movement by the Rovers. Spence and Thomson pushing on and making several good runs down the right
... Hamill has been given licence to drift into the middle, with Clarke dropping back to left mid
... Rovers playing 4-5-1 at times, with S Anderson playing the holding midfield role
Ellis' injury appears to be a lower back problem. Replaced by Wilson in a straight swap
SECOND HALF gets underway
Clarke wins the ball on the left, crosses to Walker volleys to the keeper.
GOAL! 3-0 Rovers
Hamill fouled. Free kick 25 yards out Right side by Walker, Hill heads in
Clarke stings the keepers hands with an 18 yard shot.
Free kick 33 yards out. Clarke takes, keeper tips over the bar.
GOAL! He who scores when he wants!! 4-0 Rovers
Hamill passes to Spence in the box, taps onto Graham, 4 - 0 Rovers.
Rovers players queuing up in the box to score but no result.
Clarke mops up loose ball, beats 2 players, shoots from 20, saved.
Rovers free kick. Walker tries a shot, keeper saves.
G. Anderson on for goalscorer Spence.
One sided display so far Rovers playing well and containing County.
Callaghan for Hamill.
County GOAL: Duncan scores from 6 yards 4 - 1
MATCH FINISHED: Final score County 1 - Rovers 4