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John Hughes thinks Ross County needed to be more ‘streetwise’ against St Mirren

Celtic v Ross County – Scottish Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Ross County manager John Hughes believes being a little more streetwise could have made all the difference against St Mirren on Saturday.

The Staggies went down 2–0 after seeing 18-year-old left-back Josh Reid and veteran midfielder Ross Draper get shown second yellow cards.

Even then, it took until the 76th minute for Marcus Fraser to make the breakthrough for St Mirren, with a second goal from Kristian Dennis coming as County tried to salvage an unlikely point.

Hughes thinks if his players had kept a bit more composure, they could have had a real go at claiming a late equaliser instead.

“Until the first sending off, I felt we were the better team,” Hughes said.

“We had the better chances, we were right out of the traps and they played with everything I asked of them.

“The whole game changes and we were under the cosh, but even with 10 men I thought the spirit and desire to keep that clean sheet was commendable.

“We were up against it, so we went kamikaze at the end. If we had just kept it at 1-0 for a spell, I think we might have given them a wee bit of fright.

“We just needed to be a little bit more streetwise.”

Buddies boss Jim Goodwin agreed that Reid’s red card in the first half was the turning point in the game.

St Mirren still had to take advantage of having extra players and turn that into a scoreboard lead though, so Goodwin was happy to see his squad turn in a professional victory in less-than-ideal conditions.

“There wasn’t a great deal between the teams, I have to admit, but having young Reid sent off changes the whole game,” he said.

“It was a difficult afternoon. The preparations for the game weren’t ideal, we had pre-match lunch cancelled on us at the last minute.

“The boys had to take a packed lunch for the bus, which isn’t the most professional, but we asked them not to use that as an excuse or talk about the pitch being heavy in the rain.

“We asked them to show us what characters they are – and they are a terrific bunch of lads.

“They give you everything on a matchday.

“We could have played better, and will play better in the future, but it was all about the result. We ask them to be professional and they did that.”