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Malky Mackay refuses to blame controversial penalty award for Ross County’s loss to Motherwell

Malky Mackay.
Malky Mackay.

Malky Mackay refused to blame the award of Motherwell’s penalty on Ross County’s defeat at Victoria Park.

The Staggies went down 1-0 in a crunch encounter against the Steelmen, who triumphed courtesy of Kevin Van Veen’s penalty.

Referee David Munro’s decision to award the spot-kick drew fierce protests from County defender Alex Iacovitti who was penalised for bringing the Dutch attacker down.

County created numerous chances throughout the game, and Mackay says their inability to convert them was what cost his side.

Mackay said: “I am not going to say yes or no, as I was in the same position as you guys. Even from there the camera angle wasn’t good. I’m sure there might be another one on television.

“My boy is saying he kicked the ball on to their player.

“It’s a huge decision from the referee, I will tell you that. It’s not the first penalty he has given against us this season. We will wait and see.

Kevin Van Veen celebrates netting against Ross County.

I’m more interested in the fact that we did enough to win the game, and it’s really on ourselves.

“We had a lot of chances and a lot of possession and we’ve got to be better than that.”

Mackay had no qualms with the way his side approached the match, adding: “It’s a really tough one to take. We saw how Motherwell set up, which meant we had a lot of the ball.

“We shifted it around a lot, and had a lot of possession. We also had three great chances in the first half and didn’t take them.

“In the second half we changed it because of how they were playing, we moved Blair Spittal into a middle position to pull strings, which worked really well.

“We started getting at them, with Joseph Hungbo coming on and causing them issues down the right hand side.

“We had great chances in the second half, Liam Kelly pulled off a couple of great saves but at the same time, we had another three or four that we didn’t test him well enough with.

“It was a kind of smash and grab performance. I can’t ask any more of them in terms of their effort, application and willingness to get into those areas and be brave.

“It’s just that calmness under fire to put the ball in the net.

“We’ve got a great group there. Anything they do, they do with 100% willingness to want to do things correctly.

“It’s just that time when we’ve got to be a little bit calmer under fire to actually find the net.

“They tried right to the very death.”

Alex Iacovitti in action against Motherwell.

The result sees County drop to sixth in the table with only two games remaining, with two points separating them from Motherwell.

It means County’s push to qualify for Europe is now outwith their own hands.

Mackay has called for a final push from his players, adding: “The three of us are all in there together. We have two games to go, and we’ve got to give our best for two games.

“We will see where the lie of the land is after that. We have a tough game on Wednesday night down at Ibrox, and then we’ve got Dundee United back here.

“We can only ask for that, another home game against a team around about us and to go and have a good crack at them.”

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