3 talking points as Rangers denied by Ross County in dramatic six-goal Dingwall thriller


Rangers squandered two points in the Scottish Premiership title race as Ross County drew level through injuries on a dramatic day at Dingwall.

Matthew Wright chose the perfect moment to score his first goal for the Staggies when he came off the bench to secure a point in a six-goal thriller.

Connor Goldson seemed to have won it for the Light Blues with a header with 18 minutes remaining, but Wright equalized in death with seven added stoppage minutes following the Ashley Maynard-Brewer treatment.

It was an action-packed game that began with a dream opening for debutant Amad Diallo. The player on loan from Manchester United, who was injured in the second half and could be a doubt in the derby, scored after four minutes.

However, an error by Allan McGregor gave Jordan White the equalizer and then Regan Charles-Cook completed a remarkable turnaround when he took advantage of a poor defensive game to score.

The Staggies were on course for their first win over Gers, but captain James Tavernier equalized early in the second half and Goldson headed in with 18 minutes left, causing wild scenes, but County had the last word.

Conditions were dire due to Storm Malik but this game got the thumbs up and what a treat they served.

Diallo received a quick debut from Van Bronckhorst and took just four minutes to pay off the Ibrox boss for launching him straight into the action.

And it was a goal made in Africa when Joe Aribo, on his early return from AFCON with Nigeria, made a brilliant run and cross to get the youngster into the net.

The teenager, who could eventually cost Manchester United ¬£40m, won’t have many easier endings, but it was the perfect start to get him going.

But if you thought Scottish football was going to be a walk in the park, you were given a glimpse of what to expect moments later as it was at the end of a crunching challenge from Jake Vokins that earned the Southampton loan man a reprimand.

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Staggies captain Jack Baldwin followed him in the book for a lunge on Borna Barisic, but there could have been an argument for a red card as he caught the Croat late in a corner.

The visitors started brilliantly despite tricky conditions and Scott Arfield forced Maynard-Brewer to save after a great run from Ryan Kent.

But if the Ross County goaltender showed a sure pair of hands for that chance, that was in stark contrast to his opposite number when the Staggies called.

McGregor was unable to deal with a ball from Joseph Hungbo as he spilled it directly at the feet of White, who scored.

It went from bad to worse as more defensive errors gifted County another goal to complete a stunning turnaround.

Joe Aribo vs. Jordan Tillson

First, Connor Goldson sent a defensive clearance into the air, a header attempt by Borna Barisic, and then went straight to White.

And when the Staggies forward hit Calvin Bassey, he brought a breath of fresh air to the ball and that allowed Charles-Cook not to miss the shot.

Gers was stunned by that, but wasted no time in leveling again early in the second half, as he equalized just four minutes after the break.

Diallo played his part with a shot that Maynard-Brewer could only stop and Kent kept him alive as he knocked him down into the danger area and Tavernier was available to level.

And the visitors regained the lead in a topsy-turvy game as these sides delivered another dramatic encounter.

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Barisic floated a cross that was cleared to Arfield and his shot went high in the air and Goldson snuck in on the end to head it.

There should be more to come, as Keith Watson squandered a glorious opportunity to level by sending a free header wide from a corner before fellow substitute Kemar Roofe, instead of Cedric Itten, hit the post with great effort.

But County got that late goal when a corner was thrown in and again McGregor wasn’t too smart as he couldn’t rally and it fell to Wright who crashed out at home.

Here are three points from Dingwall

Matched record but questions for Gio

Giovanni van Bronckhorst became the first Rangers manager since Alex McLeish to go undefeated in his first 13 games.

But that doesn’t tell the whole story and some questions have been asked since the winter break.

Gers did not perform well in wins away to Hibs and at home to Dundee United, but three points are often a problem.

Now, before his first Old Firm derby as manager, he needs to make sure he gets the big decisions right.

Alex Lowry had been the bright spark in the last two games but fell to the bench as did Fashion Sakala, who was also in high spirits against Stirling and Livingston.

Cedric Itten has failed to impress since returning from loan and surely this is the Swiss striker’s last chance as a leading man.

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The birthday boy distributes gifts

McGregor will blow out the candles on his 40th birthday cake on Monday, but he probably doesn’t feel like celebrating.

The veteran goalie is usually very reliable and that’s what made his big mistake that gave the county a lifeline even worse.

Joseph Hungbo’s cross should have been food and drink for McGregor, but he inexplicably dropped it in the path of Jordan White.

Rangers goalie Allan McGregor

On a day when conditions were dire, the entire Highland League was wiped out, he might have been forgiven, but the wind was not to blame this time.

McGregor has rescued the Rangers so many times and this is one you’ll want to quickly forget, especially when it comes to such an important moment and he didn’t look too smart on the County leveler in death.

Ross County Renaissance

When the Staggies had just three points and were winless in their first 10 Scottish Premiership games, it looked bleak for them.

They had just lost to Livingston by stoppage time in the fifth minute as they suffered a psychological blow.

New boss Malky Mackay insisted they were on the right track, but there can’t be many who were that confident.

However, a resounding 5-0 win against Dundee followed and Mackay have put together an impressive team.

They only lost by one goal in stoppage time against Celtic at Dingwall and now this against the other half of the Old Firm.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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