St Johnstone vs. Ross County – Football Match Report – May 12, 2018
Ross County were relegated from the Ladbrokes Premiership after a late David Wotherspoon strike saw them held to a 1-1 draw at St Johnstone.
The Staggies needed to better Partick Thistle’s result at Dundee if they were to avoid automatic relegation in the final match of the season.
With Thistle drawing at Dens Park, Craig Curran’s early goal looked as though it might give the visitors a lifeline in their bid to beat the drop.
However Kris Doolan’s strike for the Jags midway through the second half turned the afternoon on its head before Wotherspoon’s late hit ensured the Highlanders’ six-year stay in the top flight would come to an end.
With their top-flight status at stake, the Staggies wasted no time in pushing forward and took a fortuitous lead in the third minute.
Jason Naismith drove a low effort from outside the area and, with the ball going wide, it deflected off a stray leg and into the path of Curran at the far post who poked it under Alan Mannus despite calls for offside to give the visiting fans a glimmer of hope.
Scott Tanser clipped an effort just over for the hosts but they were not at the races in the opening half hour, and could have been two down as Mattias Kait crashed one against the bar from just outside the area with Mannus beaten, before Curran almost caught him out in a one-way first half that saw the hosts manage just one shot.
Tommy Wright introduced Stefan Scougall after the break in a bid to increase the home team’s tempo and threat in attack.
County remained on the front foot, though, and almost scored a carbon copy of the early goal when Naismith drilled a low effort through a mass of bodies and wide before Jamie Lindsay hit a free-kick straight down the middle.
The vocal County fans suddenly fell into a hush as news travelled through that Thistle had taken the lead at Dundee, but their side continued to impress on the pitch.
The lively Gardyne dispossessed Jason Kerr on the left before hitting wide of the near post from a tight angle, before Liam Fontaine’s free header was blocked with 10 minutes to go.
Chris Millar came on for his 323rd and final appearance for Saints and the game looked to be fizzling out until Wotherspoon hit a half-volley through a crowd of bodies and beyond a despairing Scott Fox in injury time to confirm Ross County’s fate.