If John Hughes was not aware of the challenge ahead he surely will now.
As with many other fixtures at home this season, Ross County started the better team but were not able to capitalise on that.
With the wind on their backs, St Mirren’s goalkeeper Jak Alnwick was called into action on a few occasions early doors and pulled off a couple of fine saves in succession.
As it looked like County had a good grip of the game on a sodden pitch, the early momentum petered out and by 20 minutes the visitors were an even match. Kyle McAllister tempted Josh Reid to get touch-tight for the young defender to pick up an early yellow card – the teenager never learned his lesson by giving away a similar foul for his second yellow in the first half.
1️⃣| Today was John’s first match as Manager at the Global Energy Stadium. Not the result we wanted but positives to take forward… pic.twitter.com/b5zwQva0A6
— Ross County FC (@RossCounty) December 26, 2020
With all of their men on the pitch, County looked like they could get something from this match – they were positive, used the ball well and got midfielders forward to support Oli Shaw. With a man down and playing into the wind, however, County were permanently on the back foot. Conditions got worse with Ross Draper’s sending off – his challenge was arguably not a yellow card offence but he should never have got involved with shoving his opponents after the event. For a player with over 400 senior appearances that was particularly poor game management.
County’s defence were holding firm but it had to be ex-Staggies’ captain Marcus Fraser to get the first goal for St Mirren. Fraser was a dependable player for County and there aren’t many of those at the moment in an increasingly depleted squad. The fixtures keep coming though and Hughes now has to pick up the pieces for Hibs at Easter Road.