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Stranraer 1-5 Ross County

  • Post published:15 July 2023

Scorers: Stranraer – Robertson (71); Ross County – Own Goal (11), Murray (26, 62 and 85) and Baldwin (89).

Ruthless Ross County showed their class as they put on a five-star display on the opening day of the season.

The Dingwall side scored five goals, from four shots on target, to leave with three points.

Malky Mackay’s men were able to name seven substitutes while Scott Agnew began his first full season in charge with four replacements and without Kyle Girvan and Cammy Williamson.

The hosts looked comfortable in the opening 10 minutes but found themselves behind in unfortunate circumstances.

Former Stair Park favourite Kyle Turner played the ball wide to Yan Dhanda, who delivered a teasing ball into the box.

Craig Ross went to ground to try to cut out the low delivery but could only divert it beyond debutant Martin McDonald.

It was a blow but Stranraer were the next team to force a goalkeeper into action.

Kyle Fleming – another debutant – took aim from outside the box and Ross Munro in the visiting goal could only gather at the second attempt.

Unfortunately, the visitors would double their advantage just after the halfway mark of the opening 45 minutes.

Jordan White rose highest to flick on a long ball up the park and Simon Murray found himself clean through.

The experienced striker, who bagged a treble on the opening day of the season last year when Queen’s Park visited Stair Park, kept his cool to slide his shot under McDonald.

Into the second half and only the woodwork prevented the visitors from extending their advantage further.

George Harmon’s cross had McDonald beaten all ends up but it came off the upright and bounced to safety.

That only delayed the third goal of the game by four minutes and, unfortunately, it was one entirely of Stranraer’s own making.

Grant Gallagher’s attempted backpass was seized upon by Murray, who rounded McDonald, recovered his footing and then stroked the ball into the empty net.

Thankfully, the home faithful did have something to cheer about with 19 minutes left on the clock.

Substitute James Dolan had come onto the park immediately after Murray’s goal and he was the provider, playing in a brilliant ball to the back post where Scott Robertson nodded home.

Matty Grant and Gallagher both came relatively close to ensuring a nervy finale but the visitors added some gloss to the scoreline in the final five minutes.

First, Murray fired home from close range after Stranraer were caught out at the back and then captain Jack Baldwin powered home a close range header with just seconds remaining.

Take nothing away from Ross County, who were worthy winners, but many of the home fans would likely think the scoreline flattered their opposition slightly.

Attention now turns to a trip to Cappielow Park to face Championship Greenock Morton.

Stranraer: McDonald, Robertson, Ross, McIntosh, Gallagher, Forrest, Fleming, Grant (Hughes 86), Armour, Orr (Dolan 64), Walker (Hawkshaw 33).
Not used: O’Connor.

Ross County: Munro, Randall, Purrington, Baldwin, Allardice (Brown 69), Turner (Sheaf 63), Dhanda (Smith 80), Sims (MacKinnon 69), Murray, Harmon (Henderson 63), White.
Not used: Ewan and Ross.