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'County show different side of their game to extend excellent start'

Ross County talking point
Ross County talking point

Ross Morren, The County Corner podcast

Ross County continued their excellent start to the season with a hard-fought and well-deserved victory over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

Kilmarnock have had an impressive start themselves, picking up wins against Rangers on the opening day of the league season and knocking Celtic out of the Viaplay Cup.

But Malky Mackay opted to stick with the 3-5-2 he had used in the second half against Rangers and it allowed County to match Killie's shape. The three centre-backs Will Nightingale, Jack Baldwin and Ryan Leak were excellent, while Connor Randall, Kyle Turner and Yan Dhanda provided plenty of craft and guile in midfield.

Simon Murray scored his first league goal and has been superb so far this season. He is a striker full of confidence, evidenced by his seven-goal haul in the Viaplay Cup. He deserved his goal on Saturday as his work-rate is second to none and he provides so much to the attack both on and off the ball.

It’s safe to say County’s win and performance has been overshadowed by Kevin Clancy’s decision to disallow Kilmarnock’s equaliser and instead award them a penalty. I can understand and sympathise with Kilmarnock fans' frustration as County were on the end of a similar decision at the end of last season against Motherwell, although our spot-kick was rescinded.

This time round, Ross Laidlaw saved Daniel Armstrong’s subsequent penalty to preserve his clean sheet. Laidlaw has developed into one of the best goalkeepers in the league.

His save from Marley Watkins' header in the second half was top class and rounded off his man-of-the-match performance. If Laidlaw continues to develop his game and maintains the form he’s shown during his time in Dingwall, he at least deserves to be in the conversation over a future Scotland call-up.

Six points from the opening four matches, two of which were against Celtic and Rangers, is a fantastic start to the season for County.

In previous matches, we’ve shown we’ve got excellent technical players who can create chances. On Saturday, we also showed we can dig deep, win the physical battle against teams and come away with three points.