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Ross County make their point as Derek Adams returns to the Global Energy Stadium technical area after 9 years away from Dingwall

By Alasdair Fraser

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Ross County manager Derek Adams.
Ross County manager Derek Adams.

Ross County (0) 0

Kilmarnock (0) 0

Derek Adams declared himself content with a positive start after marking his return to Ross County after nine years with a hard-fought draw.

The Staggies created a healthy clutch of chances on a scoreless afternoon but couldn’t quite find the killer finish.

With a clean sheet and a game spent mostly on the front foot, though, the former Plymouth and Morecambe manager was upbeat in his first game since replacing sacked Malky Mackay.

County moved up one place to 10th above St Johnstone and Livingston but after seeing attempts from James Brown and Connor Randall cleared off the line, along with a Josh Sims’ missed opportunity, they might easily have climbed another place.

Adams said: “It was a great start for us. In that first period of the game, we started from the centre, went forward and got the first corner in the game.

“We created some really good opportunities. Kilmarnock cleared two off the line, and the players showed a willingness to get into the penalty area.

“We got a point, it was a nil-nil game, but I thought we had the best opportunities in the game to win it.

“It hasn’t been an easy week for the players. A change of manager is never easy.

“I thought they kept going to the end and I was really pleased with that.

“I was happy with how the players took on the information and understood their roles

“Over the afternoon, I have got to be pleased with a clean sheet.

“On the other hand, we could maybe have done better with the chances we did create.

“When you go into any new job, you want to get off on a positive way. We have done that by gathering a point, moving up a position.

“We’ve had a clean sheet and got the players playing in a certain way. We just need to tidy up on some of the simple things and do those better.”

Adams made two changes for his first match back in charge in Dingwall.

County's defeat away to St Johnstone a fortnight before had proven sacked Malky Mackay's last bow.

Josh Sims and James Brown came back into the side, with Victor Loturi and Jordan White stepping down to the bench.

Killie, now without a win in seven visits to Dingwall dating back to March 2017 when Kris Boyd hit the winner, also made two changes to the side beaten 1-0 by Hibs at Easter Road.

Rory McKenzie and Matty Kennedy were back in favour, with Liam Polworth relegated to the bench and Brad Lyons dropping out completely.

There was no fanfare or triumphant salute from the returning Adams as he strolled back into the home technical area.

But his team looked pumped up from the off and were on the front foot in early exchanges.

Yan Dhanda immediately broke on the right and cut a shot wide of the far post.

Approaching the 15 minute mark the Highlanders began to create chances.

First Dhanda's cross found defender Ryan Leak heading towards the top corner, with the attempt pushed wide by keeper William Dennis.

Then a long ball forward from Jack Baldwin split the Killie defence with Dhanda controlling and laying it off to Brown.

The Irishman's strike was knocked away on the line by Killie's Joe Wright.

Scott Allardice then looped the ball back in with the attempt again pushed for a corner by the goalkeeper.

At the other end, County needed a terrific save from Ross Laidlaw when ex-County attacker Dan Armstrong's deflected shot flew towards the inside of the near post.

With 25 minutes gone, the lively Dhanda surged onto the ball inside the D and struck a shot that Dennis dived low to his left to push away from the bottom corner.

There was then a bizarre booking for diving for County's Allardice as he surged forward into the box, even though the midfielder immediately sprang back to his feet.

Arguably County's best chance of the first half came just before the break.

Dhanda was again in the thick of it, instigating the attack before a low ball from the left found Connor Randall cutting inside his marker.

With the keeper committed, Randall's chipped attempt was headed off the line by Stuart Findlay.

Later in the match, Sims blew a great chance with a weak attempt into the keeper’s grasp on 66 minutes after Murray cut in superbly from the left.

It ended honours even, with the new Adams era now very much underway.

ROSS COUNTY (3-4-2-1): Laidlaw 6; Nightingale 7, Baldwin 7, Leak 7; Brown 6, Randall 7 (Samuel 83, 3), Allardice 6, Purrington 6; Sims 7 (White 76, 4), Dhanda 8 (Turner 90, 2); Murray 7. Subs not used: Munro, Sheaf, Loturi, Harmon, Smith, Reid.

Booked: Allardice 26

KILMARNOCK (4-1-4-1): Dennis 7; Mayo 7, Wright 7, Findlay 7, Deas 7; Donnelly 6; Armstrong 7, McKenzie 6 (Vassell 70, 4), Watson 6, Kennedy 6 (Ndaba 90, 1); Watkins 6 (Dallas 87, 2). Subs not used: O’Hara, Sanders, Ndaba, Polworth, Murray, Brown, Warnock.

Referee: Colin Steven 6

Att 4013

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