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Ross County boss John Hughes hails ‘natural goal-scorer’ Billy Mckay

John Hughes file photo
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

John Hughes praised Billy Mckay’s response to being left out of the team in recent weeks after the striker’s double helped Ross County to a 3–2 victory over Kilmarnock.

Mckay, who had not played in County’s last two Scottish Premiership games, cancelled out Kyle Lafferty’s opener and grabbed his second early in the second half, moments after Leo Hjelde had scored, to make it 3-1.

Lafferty pulled one back for Kilmarnock, but County held on and Hughes was delighted with the contribution of Mckay, whom he had previously worked with at Inverness.

“It was all about the result,” the manager said.

“I don’t think it was a great game of football, but there was plenty of action in it. It’s all about getting the result and I felt we showed great character coming from a goal down.

“Everyone played their part, but I’m delighted for Billy. He’s found himself out of the team, but he’s a goal-scorer.

“He’s never changed. When I first went into Inverness I thought Billy was left-footed. I only realised after a month he was a natural goal-scorer.

“He’s bitterly disappointed he’s not been playing football. I tried to press a few buttons with him the other day – I said I was struggling to get him in the squad. He said, ‘All I want to do is play football’. Good, you’re playing.

“I don’t know if that was part of it. I know Billy and he’s got plenty to give. He wants to repay Ross County and, like any player, he feels the frustration when he’s not playing. Do that and you’ll stay in the team every week.”

Kilmarnock boss Tommy Wright revealed his frustration at his side’s defending as they fell to the foot of the table.

“Overall if you defend like we did for the three goals, you don’t deserve anything out of the game,” he said.

“We’ve got to look at ourselves long and hard and it’s obvious it’s got to be better.

“After dealing with their early pressure where they didn’t work the goalkeeper, we got ourselves in front and we shouldn’t have let them back in before half-time but we did.

“We’ve only ourselves our blame for being 3–1 down. It doesn’t matter what we did after that, because we lost a game we should have won and that we were in control of.”