Eamonn Brophy scored on his first Ross County start since April – but was reeling at having to settle for a solitary Premiership point at Motherwell.
The experienced front-man, whose summer was spent recovering from a thigh injury, partnered Simon Murray in a fluid 4-4-2 line-up at Fir Park and shot the Staggies in front in the second half.
Murray then lashed home a second before Mika Biereth’s spot-kick got Well on the scoresheet.
When Victor Loturi made it 3-1 in an action-packed second period, it seemed as if County were leaving Lanarkshire with full points and a place potentially in the top six.
Brophy’s fantastic finish was his second of the season, having come off the bench to score the extra-time winner in the Viaplay Cup at Airdrie in August.
The 27-year-old was signed from St Mirren in June after a superb loan spell up north on loan from the Buddies.
Nicknamed “The Wolf”, he is hunting down more starts and goal, with County’s next chance of points coming at Hibs on Tuesday night.
Draw was ‘massive disappointment’
Brophy, a big fans’ favourite, felt losing 2-0 and 3-1 advantages so swiftly at Motherwell was tough for County to take.
He said: “It was a massive disappointment to have a two-goal lead twice in the game and come away with just a point.
“It feels like a loss, to be honest. It wasn’t good enough.
“But we just need to put it right and look ahead to Tuesday. We need to put this behind us and look forward to our next games.
“When you go two ahead, the game is never done, but to throw it away the way we did was massively disappointing.
“It’s done now and we need to move on to Tuesday. Hibs will be a difficult game, but we need to go there and try to get all three points.
“We’d maybe have taken a point at the start of the game. The way the game went, we should have taken three points.”
Brophy thrilled to start – and score
Following a 0-0 draw at Dundee last Tuesday, County manager Malky Mackay brought Brophy, Scott Allardice and George Harmon into his starting side.
It was a long time coming for Brophy, who came off with a thigh injury in a crucial 2-0 win at St Johnstone in April as County battled to stay up.
Having since signed for the Staggies permanently, he said: “I enjoyed it. It was my first start since I got injured, so it was good to just get out there playing again.
65’ | GOOOALLL FOR COUNTY!!
Eamonn Brophy into the top corner!
MFC 0-1 RCFC pic.twitter.com/MnUrGK57TZ
— Ross County FC (@RossCounty) October 28, 2023
“It was a disappointing result, but it was good to get my first start in a while and to get a goal, which was a positive.
“I scored against Airdrie in the cup, so this was my first proper goal!
“I wasn’t too sure if it was going to stand or not, but I was delighted to see it did.
“It was unfortunate it didn’t lead to three points at Motherwell.”
Win would take County above Hibs
The fact County were inside the top six when they led at Fir Park shows how bunched up most of the sides are in the top-flight.
A win at Easter Road would see the Staggies overtake Hibs, and Brophy said they cannot afford to let any further leads slip.
He added: “There’s nothing between so many teams in the division.
“That’s why we need to win games such as Saturday – when we’re ahead, we need to take advantage.
“We didn’t, but we look ahead to Tuesday.”