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Ross County solidified their Championship title credentials with a 3-1 win over in-form Dunfermline Athletic leaving them as the only Championship club with maximum points.
The Staggies broke the deadlock through a thunderous strike from new boy Josh Mullin – who gave up a shot at the Premiership with last year’s surprise package Livingston to join County – before Louis Longridge pulled things level just minutes later for the hosts.
County took the lead again minutes before half-time as Michael Gardyne found the net and split what was a rather even affair. County took control of the second half against a deflated Pars side and killed the game off and secured all three points with 20 minutes to spare as another new signing in Keith Watson struck to make it 3-1 to the visitors.
Following the victory, bookmakers McBookie have shortened the odds on the Highland club winning the Championship crown and returning to the Premiership at the first time of asking with odds now sitting at 6/4, making them their favourite’s.
Excellent away win for Ross County today and they shorten for the title.
Three points for Dundee U and Partick Thistle as well pic.twitter.com/lbHoJcen9x
— McBookie (@McBookie) August 11, 2018
Last year it would be fair to say that County relied heavily upon Alex Schalk performing week in week out and once he left many wondered who would be relied upon similarly this season.
Nobody was signed as a direct replacement for Schalk in terms of being the team’s go-to guy but what County now do have in their roster is various options across the park that can all make an impact as evidenced by the fact their four goals this league season have come from four different players.
“We’ve been stressing to the players that we’re going to need goals from different areas of the park other than just from our front players,” a delighted co-manager Steven Ferguson said post-match.
Saturday’s defeat for the Pars put an end to the five-game win streak they had built up since the start of competitive action.
An injury to central defender Dan Devine forced manager Allan Johnston into re-arranging his line-up which saw the East End Park side lose something that has served them so well this season, the link-up play between the Longridge brothers, Jackson and Louis. Jackson, primarily a left wing back in the Pars system, was pushed into the back three and that left Louis, who was playing as an attacking midfielder on the left-hand side, without his brother to link with and ultimately left the Pars with virtually nothing down the left.
“It [the injury to Devine] left us short and shuffling players about. That is still no excuse, we can still do better,” Johnston stressed before adding “It [the match] is a learning curve for us.”
– Despite building ‘his’ team with no less than 12 new faces coming in over the summer, Falkirk manager Paul Hartley has been unable to guide his team to a single point thus far this season. The Bairns are one of two Championship sides still without a point after two weeks played – the other being newly promoted Alloa Athletic – and don’t look to have learned from the mistakes that saw them fighting the threat of relegation playoffs/relegation for much of last season.
– Dundee United manager Czaba Lazlo has eased the pressure on himself after guiding the Arabs to a 2-1 win over Queen of the South. With fellow promotion hopefuls Partick Thistle up next, he could further ease the pressure with a victory. However, he could well find himself on the way out if they are to lose as that will mean two defeats to two promotion rivals in the opening three weeks of the season. Lazlo was questioned on the pressure post-match on Saturday to which he replied, “It’s my job and I have to take it how it is.”