St Mirren 1-1 Ross County: County fight back against 10-man hosts22 August 2020
Ross County secured their best ever start to a Scottish Premiership season by fighting back to draw against 10-man St Mirren.
Jon Obika's first-half strike opened the scoring before Joe Shaughnessy's red card turned the game, allowing County to equalise through a Nathan Sheron own goal.
The Highlanders' eight points from five games is their best record and leaves them third.
Meanwhile, St Mirren sit sixth.
County certainly started the brighter as Stuart Kettlewell's men moved the ball with the confidence and purpose that has been central to their positive start to the season.
However, against the run of play it would be the hosts who would take the lead through Obika's second goal in as many games.
After Kyle McAllister's driving run forward, County's Michael Gardyne had two chances to dispossess the St Mirren attack but instead the ball broke for Obika with his back to goal, and he turned and finished well into Ross Laidlaw's bottom left corner.
St Mirren's goal seemed to spark them into life, but they almost found themselves back level after Billy Mckay glanced a header just wide and Ross Stewart hit the bar with a header of his own.
Jim Goodwin's men could have gone into the break with their lead doubled after Junior Morias had a close-range effort well saved by Laidlaw before Richard Tait's acrobatic goal-line clearance kept the score level just after half-time.
Laidlaw then kept out Morias again before Regan Charles-Cook missed a glaring chance after Jak Alnwick parried a Gardyne effort straight at the substitute, but the ball seemed to hit off the 23-year-old who failed to sort his feet out.
The turning point of the game would then come as Shaughnessy saw red for the hosts with a dangerous challenge on the calf of Stewart, allowing the visitors to take complete control and level the contest as a Gardyne volley ricocheted twice, the last touch off Sheron, to stun the hosts.
Man of the match - Michael Gardyne
What did we learn?
Having played against 10 men for the last half hour of the game, Kettlewell will feel like it may be two points dropped. However, the point gained means he has guided the Highlanders to their best start of a top tier season after five games, registering eight points and bettering last season's record of seven.
As for St Mirren, despite surrendering a 1-0 lead, Goodwin will be happy with the resolute character his side demonstrated to gain a point having played a third of the game with a man down.
It stretches the Paisley side's unbeaten home run to seven games, winning three and drawing four of those while conceding just two goals.
What did they say?
St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin: "I saw it as a good honest full-blooded tackle. I think Joe wins the ball and the referee has certainly played on. My understanding was it was the fourth official's call.
"I thought the reaction of the Ross County player was a wee bit over the top if I'm being honest. I was fully expecting the stretcher to be on and you fear the worst for the player but the fact he's able to play on and finish off the game suggests that Joe didn't catch him all that badly."
Ross County manager Stuart Kettlewell: "First half I didn't feel we were at the races. We conceded a sloppy goal from our point of view but we got a better response second half.
"For me I genuinely believe Ross Stewart is exceptionally lucky to keep playing in the game. We are talking millimetres either way and it's a broken leg. I don't think there's any complaints. I've been sent off for a lot less."
St Mirren travel to St Johnstone next Saturday before welcoming Hibernian to Paisley after the international break.
As for Ross County, they face Livingston away next weekend then take on champions Celtic in Dingwall after the early September internationals.