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Ross County start Premiership season with defeat to Hearts in Edinburgh

By Will Clark

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Scottish Premiership

Hearts 2

Ross County 1

Scorers – Hearts: Forrest (60) Mckay (76) County: White (78)

Ross County opened the new Premiership campaign with defeat to Hearts in Edinburgh.

Jordan White.
Jordan White.

The Staggies dominated the first half and created a number of chances, hitting the woodwork twice as Hearts were on the ropes.

But the visitors went in front through Alan Forrest on the hour mark and doubled their advantage through Barrie Mckay.

Jordan White pulled one back for Ross County with 12 minutes remaining, but the Staggies could not find an equaliser.

In a dominant first half from the visitors, Ross County had a golden opportunity to take the lead after 10 minutes.

A long ball from their own half found Owura Edwards who beat the offside trap with only the goalkeeper to beat.

He hesitated firing and stumbled and in the end set up Jordy Hiwula in the box who fired wide of the right post.

County had another great chance in the 15th minute when Hiwula played the ball into the box for Ben Purrington whose shot from 12 yards out looked like it was goalbound.

But a last ditch challenge from Nathaniel Atkinson saw his foot deflect the shot out for a corner.

Ross County then hit the woodwork within the space of two minutes with Dominic Samuel's header from inside the box hitting the right post and then Edwards-Owura hitting the crossbar as Hearts were under real pressure.

But the hosts were better in the second half and took the lead on the hour mark.

Jorge Grant sent a ball through to Lawrence Shankland in the box and he sent a pass across the face of goal to find Alan Forrest who fired home from the edge of the six-yard box.

Hearts doubled their advantage in the 76th minute when a route one punt from goalkeeper Craig Gordon found Barrie Mckay and he gets the better of the defence and fired past Ross Laidlaw from 12 yards.

But from the restart, County reduced the deficit to one immediate when they played the ball up the field and substitute White managed to fire in from close range.

However, Ross County were unable to trouble Gordon again as Hearts comfortably held on.

Hearts: Gordon, Smith, Halkett, Haring, Shankland (Boyce 70), Atkinson (Grant 28), Rowles, Forrest (Devlin 76), Mckay (Halliday 76), Cochrane, Sibbick.

Subs (Unused) Stewart, Mackay-Steven, Neilson, Smith.

Ross County: Laidlaw, Randall (Johnston 79), Purrington, Baldwin, Iacovitti, Edwards-Owura (Oglaibe 64), Callachan, Samuel (White 75), Sims (Dhanda 64), Hiwula-Mayifuila, Tillson.

Subs (Unused) Eastwood, Loturi, Watson, Harmon, Paton.

Referee: David Dickinson

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