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Kyle Vassell the matchwinner as Kilmarnock beat lowly Ross County
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Kilmarnock hosted Ross County at Rugby Park (Jane Barlow/PA)
Kilmarnock hosted Ross County at Rugby Park (Jane Barlow/PA)

Kilmarnock strengthened their grip on fourth spot in the cinch Premiership with a 1-0 victory over Ross County at Rugby Park.

Kyle Vassell powered home the only goal of the game after 64 minutes to give Derek McInnes’ side a deserved success in a game spoiled by windy conditions.

Ross County remain second bottom and now trail 10th-placed St Johnstone by four points.

The hosts almost took a first-minute lead after Danny Armstrong’s floated cross was met by Matty Kennedy at the back post, but the winger’s effort struck the post before bouncing to safety.

County responded with some pressure of their own, and there was a nervous moment for the Killie backline as they struggled to deal with a loose ball inside the box.

The visitors continued to threaten and Eamonn Brophy sent a dipping volley just over the crossbar before Loick Ayina’s header was easily gathered.

It required a strong punch from George Wickens to keep out Liam Donnelly’s stinging volley on the half-hour mark, and the County goalkeeper reacted well again minutes later to save from Stuart Findlay.

The final action of a poor first half came in added time when Brophy sent an ambitious acrobatic effort wide of the target.

The second half began in a similar fashion to the first. Armstrong’s goal-bound drive was deflected just over and then Vassell should have done better when he connected with the resulting corner.

Don Cowie’s side were still offering a threat of their own on the counter. Simon Murray forced a superb stop from Killie keeper Will Dennis with a curling effort from the edge of the area.

But it was the hosts who were looking the more likely to score. Vassell burst into the box before unleashing a powerful strike that was well blocked by Wickens and appeals for handball in the aftermath were waved away by referee Euan Anderson.

The Kilmarnock captain was not to be denied though and he broke the deadlock when he collected the ball on the edge of the box before drilling low beyond Wickens.

Lifted by their opener, the hosts looked to extend their advantage, with chances for Vassell and Donnelly both going astray.

In the closing stages, Kilmarnock midfielder Liam Polworth was fortunate to avoid being shown a red card when he kicked out at Ryan Leak – a moment that caused tempers to flare.

Four players were shown yellow cards in the aftermath, including Polworth who was substituted minutes later, but Ross County were unable to fine a late leveller.


Scottish PremiershipKilmarnockRoss County
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