Ross County leave Rugby Park empty-handed after falling to Kilmarnock's 10 men in the Premiership
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Kilmarnock 3 (Brophy, Kabamba, Burke)
Ross County 1 (Grivosti)
Ross County put in a disappointing performance as they lost 3–1 to a Kilmarnock side who saw Stuart Findlay sent off inside the opening 10 minutes.
Eamonn Brophy had put the hosts ahead, before Tom Grivosti equalised on the stroke of half time for County.
Second half goals from Nicke Kabamba and substitute Chris Burke sealed the points though, leaving the Staggies to travel back up to Dingwall empty-handed.
It was not long before the complexion of the match changed, as Kilmarnock went down to 10 men.
Harry Paton tried to play a ball over the top of Stuart Findlay towards Ross Stewart, and it looked like the defender had cut it out before he lost his footing.
Desperately trying to save possession, he tried to sweep the ball back to Danny Rogers only to catch Stewart.
As the last man and having been judged by the referee not to have made a legitimate attempt to win the ball, he was shown a red card and it appeared to be advantage County.
However, just five minutes later the hosts went in front.
A free kick just inside their own half was lumped forward, but not cleared, and Mitch Pinnock kept it alive on the left wing.
He was not closed down, and therefore had the time to pick out an unmarked Eamonn Brophy in the middle who made no mistake from close range.
The match was set up as attack against defence from there, as Killie had something to hold on to, but they still showed they were a threat on the counter attack.
Brophy tested Ross Doohan – spared isolation after time away with the Scotland Under-21s – again soon after, and Nicke Kabamba headed over from close range all before the clock hit 20 minutes.
County began to grow into the game though, getting their foot on the ball more, and while they were not creating too many chances they did at least have more control.
Stuart Kettlewell was forced into an attacking substitution just before the half-hour mark when Jordan Tillson was forced off without a like-for-like option on the bench, so he instead sent on Billy Mckay to inject some creativity into the side.
Although the Staggies were looking more dangerous, it was not until just before the break that Tom Grivosti levelled the scores.
Stephen Kelly took a short corner, exchanging the ball with Stewart to change the crossing angle, before picking out the Liverpudlian defender who nodded past Rogers to make it 1–1.
With the scores level though, Kilmarnock once again sent out a reminder of their threat when the second half resumed.
Kirk Broadfoot was allowed to take the ball out of defence and into the final third, with the veteran electing to shoot from distance and forcing a save out of Doohan.
There was another injury blow for the Staggies when the goalscorer Grivosti made a vital interception to cut out a Killie counter attack.
He immediately motioned that he needed treatment, and was forced off to be replaced by Keith Watson.
When it might have been expected the hosts would tire after playing most of the match with 10 men, they instead looked the most likely to score.
Kilmarnock were the side to take the lead, with a second penalty in the match after Coll Donaldson pulled down a persistent Pinnock close to his own goal.
Kabamba stepped up and sent Doohan the wrong way, finding the net to restore the hosts' lead.
The Staggies lacked an urgency to get back on level terms until the 90 minutes were nearly up, but Charlie Lakin did go close and Josh Reid forced a great save out of Doohan.
The final goal would go to the home side as well, as experienced winger Chris Burke came off the bench to pick out the top corner.