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Murray strikes as Ross County boost survival bid with win over Hearts

Simon Murray starred as Ross County secured a vital 2-1 win against Hearts in
Dingwall.

The former Hibernian striker scored either side of half-time to put the Staggies in a commanding position.

Despite hitting the woodwork multiple times and having one goal ruled out for offside, Hearts could only muster a single goal in response through Yutaro Oda in stoppage time.

How Ross County earned crucial win

The Staggies were hit by an early setback before a ball had even been kicked as Connor Randall – who had only returned from injury against Hibernian midweek – was forced out of the starting line-up after the warm-up, replaced by Max Sheaf.

Early on, Jordan White may have been guilty of one of the misses of the season. Murray did brilliantly on the right flank to get past his marker and send a low cross into the middle, where White stretched for the ball and somehow managed to loop it over the bar from just a yard or two out when it looked easier to score.

Hearts would create the better chances as the half went on, with Kenneth Vargas seeing his thunderous effort crash back down off the crossbar, but it was County who would take the lead two minutes before the interval through Murray.

A wonderful ball from Yan Dhanda sent the tenacious forward through on goal and though Murray’s initial attempt was saved by Zander Clark, he responded quickly to score at the second attempt.

Murray claimed a second four minutes after the restart, smashing Josh Reid’s cross past Clark to make it 2-0.

Hearts tried to find a way back into the contest and put their hosts under considerable pressure, with Alan Forrest hitting the woodwork after fashioning just enough space to shoot inside County’s box.

The visitors thought they had one back when Stephen Kingsley scored directly from a free-kick, only for VAR to recommend a review for Lawrence Shankland standing in an offside position – with the goal then disallowed.

They finally cut the deficit in stoppage time, when Oda expertly finished past Wickens via the inside of the post.

Hearts could not find a second to equalise though, and County were able to celebrate a crucial victory to boost their survival fight.

What’s next?

Ross County return to Scottish Premiership action after the international break at Aberdeen on March 30, while Hearts face Kilmarnock.

Both games kick-off at 3pm.

Sky News
(c) Sky Sports 2024:Source