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It’s all to play for – John Hughes raring to go as Ross County bid to beat drop

John Hughes file photo
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Ross County manager John Hughes believes there is everything to play for in the Scottish Premiership relegation battle after his side came from behind twice to force a 2-2 draw at Kilmarnock.

Goals from Michael Gardyne and defender Alex Iacovitti cancelled out Chris Burke and Mitch Pinnock strikes to give the Dingwall team a share of the points which keeps them a point above Saturday’s opponents in the relegation play-off spot with four games to play.

Hughes was particularly pleased with his side’s response in the second period.

“I said to them at half-time, let’s keep a clean sheet in the second half and you’ll go and win the game,” he said. “I was confident that we could win the game, I knew we would create chances and I think we did enough in the second half to do that, we just couldn’t get the ball in the net.”

Despite their failure to push on and win having dominated the second half, Hughes was content with Saturday’s result as Killie look to secure their top-flight status for the ninth season running.

He said: “We got one, take the point, it keeps us in front of Kilmarnock so it’s all to play for.

“I saw a great game of football, exciting, and I saw a team that are battling to try and stay in the league, so I’m absolutely delighted for them.”

Kilmarnock boss Tommy Wright was happy with his side’s creativity in the final quarter of the game and credited the County goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw after his save denied the home side three points late in the game.

Wright said: “Yeah, it was a good save, probably in those positions they need to be mishit and they go in, but it was a good save.

“(Greg) Kiltie’s had a good chance as well, we have got round the back of them four or five times in the last 20 minutes and not picked out anybody in the box and that’s where we need that bit of composure and bit of quality.”

Wright played down Killie’s late shout for a penalty after an Alan Power shot appeared to strike a hand in the box.

“Handball, was it?” he asked. “I don’t know what the handball rule is, but I’d be disappointed if my team conceded a penalty for that, but you’ve probably seen them given somewhere today.

“It’s just strange the handball rule at times… there are different interpretations of it, but I wasn’t expecting a penalty kick.”

The Northern Irishman was satisfied as Killie moved another point clear of bottom side Hamilton, who lost at home to Dundee United.

“But listen it’s a good point, a point away from the bottom of the table and we’ve still got a lot to play for’’.

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