McGregor calamity comes at Wright time for County.
After an embarrassingly long hiatus, we seem to be finally back getting some new content onto this site so here are some thoughts following Saturday’s enthralling 3-3 draw with the blue half of the ugly sisters.
Coming back from conceding an early goal County went into half time with a single-goal lead but they let their advantage slip in the second half conceding a further two goals ensuing a pitch invasion from the relieved league leaders.
However the away fans would have nothing to celebrated at full time as elated songs of “we’re gonna win the league” and England’s national anthem were silenced by teenage striker Matthew Wright who fired County’s equaliser past a helpless Allan McGregor moments before full time. A result so humiliating for the Ibrox side that they appear to have gone and signed a 400k a week, injury riddled, midfielder just to give an ounce of hope back to their furious fan base.
Going into the game after an embarrassing 2-1 bottling job against Dundee United midweek it was going to take some effort from the players to put it behind them and go toe to toe with the current league champions. But that they certainly did.
Contrary to past years against the old firm where there always seems to be a tendency to play extra defenders, Malky stuck to his usual 4-3-3 formation. Tillson did come into midfield to provide a more defensive base in the middle but it was encouraging to see County look to go at Rangers.
The visitors lined up in their usual 4-3-3 as well with new addition Amad Diallo who arrived the day before on loan from Manchester United. The Ivorian winger signed for United in the summer in a deal that could rise to over £30,000,000.
It did not take long for Diallo to open his account in the Scottish Premiership scoring just 4 minutes in, tapping in a fantastic ball across from Rangers’ star man Joe Aribo.
It’s safe to say many County fans were fearing the worst at this point but the team stuck in and didn’t allow Rangers any more real clear cut chances in the next 20 minutes, managing to come into the game themselves.
Joseph Hungbo received the ball on the left wing but could only cross the ball straight to the hands of McGregor. To Jordan White’s delight the Rangers goalkeeper forgot how to catch a ball and split it directly in front of County’s lone striker to finish calmly into the empty net against his boyhood club.
It didn’t take long for the next Rangers defensive disaster. Connor Goldson ballooned the ball high towards his own goal which Borna Barasic headed directly at White. Calvin Bassay produced a Pele esc dummy allowing Regan Charles-Cook to run through and slide the ball through the legs of McGregor.
The leagues top scorer said of the goal: “The manager always wants me to gamble and get in behind, once I saw the knockdown to Jordan I knew he was going to header it. Fortunately it came to me but McGregor spread himself well so I thought let me go through him instead of around him.”
Disgruntled groans could be heard loudly from the away end, and occasionally from those in the home end who forgot they were meant to be County fans for the day, throughout the rest of the half as the Highland side went into the break with the 2-1 advantage.
To be honest, the less said about the next 50 minutes the better.
Rangers attacked and attacked and attacked and attacked and managed to turn the game on its head.
Tavernier tapped in the equaliser in the 49th minute and then with less than 20 to go Goldson headed into the net sparking pitch invasions from the “worlds most successful football club” who thought they had rescued three points against 10th in the league.
Malky Mackay was not for giving up though and threw on 19-year-old Matthew Wright up front with Dominic Samuel for his first league appearance.
The old firm side did everything they could to run down the clock so there was no surprise when seven minutes of added time was shown on the forth officials board.
It seemed like Rangers had managed to prevent the staggies from gaining any real chance of a comeback until Glen Kamara decided to pass the ball straight to premiership top goal scorer Charles-Cook with one minute to go. The winger slipped it through to centre-back turned left midfielder, Jack Baldwin, who managed to win a corner.
The corner was flicked on by Bassay to Baldwin who laid off Jack Burroughs who managed to squirm it through the defence. The ball then deflected off the arm of McGregor only to be shot straight past the goalkeeper by Stornoway-born Wright.
The goal allowed for scenes of mass celebration from the players as well as actual County fans in the home end who were delighted to see the resentful faces of some of those in the seats around them.
The draw brings county a further point ahead of relegation rivals Dundee and St Johnstone ahead of an important game against Aberdeen tomorrow night.