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Don Cowie hails players and supporters alike after 'massive' Ross County victory against Hearts in the Scottish Premiership

By Andrew Henderson

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Ross County manager Don Cowie was in no doubt how important their three points against Hearts will be in the club's battle to avoid relegation this season.

A double from Simon Murray led the way for the Staggies in a 2-1 victory over the Jambos, who are still sitting comfortably third in the table.

While County remain in the play-off position, the result did move them 10 points clear of Livingston at the foot of the table – and kept them within reach of both St Johnstone and Aberdeen, who they play next.

"Any three points is massive," he reasoned.

"We were playing against a very good team, comfortably third in the league for a reason, but I'm proud of the group for standing up to that and getting three points.

Ross County interim manager Don Cowie was delighted to pick up a vital win over Hearts. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Ross County interim manager Don Cowie was delighted to pick up a vital win over Hearts. Picture: Ken Macpherson

"I've been a little bit disappointed with the way we've responded after half time in games, especially at home, so it was just a case of making sure they came out flying and ready in the second half.

"We expected a reaction from Hearts, so getting a second goal was vital.

"Hearts are an excellent team. Beating them here has to give us confidence going into the last eight games of the season.

"We've taken eight points at home, and I'm really happy with that, but now we've got to transfer that to away games because we've got two very tough games coming up."

Cowie also hailed the impact that the club's supporters had in their 2-1 win against Hearts – and insisted they will have a vital role to play in the Premiership run-in.

Yutaro Oda pulled one back for Hearts in stoppage time after a long period of pressure, but County held out for the three points, much to the delight of their fans.

"They are so important," Cowie stressed.

"You're standing there, and you see the other team starting to pile bodies forward, but you could tell the fans realised how important they were at that stage.

"That's valuable for us going forward, and you could see that today, so I'm really happy about that.

"It's crucial, and we need to stick together.

"I've said all along that this is about us being together as a group, and that's not just about the players but the fans too.

"This is a club that has done what it has by sticking together through tough periods, and we're going to need the fans again as the season goes on."

While Murray was the star of the show as far as County were concerned, Yan Dhanda was also impressive against the side he has reportedly agreed to join in the summer – at various points in the match being serenaded by both sets of fans.

Simon Murray led the way for the Staggies with a brace. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Simon Murray led the way for the Staggies with a brace. Picture: Ken Macpherson

Cowie also reserved particular praise for Max Sheaf, who was thrust into the starting line-up just minutes before kick off after Connor Randall pulled out through injury.

"Simon has got so much energy and quality, he can be unpredictable at times but that's just the way he is.

"He's got that never say die attitude, and his second finish was very clinical, so I'm very pleased for him.

"I thought Yan was excellent. His pass for the first goal was the bit of quality that you want to see in a game that's really tight.

"His work rate was superb, and I was really delighted with how he played.

"I've got to give special praise to Max Sheaf, because that was a decision that was made two minutes before we went out for the game.

"Connor felt an issue in his groin, and with no game for two weeks we didn't think it was worth taking a risk.

"For Max to come in at short notice and do so well, I'm delighted for him."

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