County on the verge of Premiership return as Graham helps himself to a hat-trick
ROSS County all but secured a return to the Ladbrokes Premiership at the first attempt after a comeback triumph against Ayr United last night. A perfect hat-trick from Brian Graham cancelled out Calvin Miller’s 12th minute opener and while formally the Highlanders require one more point from their remaining two games, their goal difference of 20 realistically makes that an irrelevance. Ironically, Ross County’s rivals, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, host Dundee United today. Should Inverness take anything from that game against second-placed Robbie Nielson’s side then a glass will be raised from the other side of the Highland divide. “Myself and Steven [Ferguson] will go along to the game as we always do,” said Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell. “One of the first messages I came into tonight was from John Robertson saying fantastic and well done. It is a touch of class and we did the same to them when they played Hearts in the Scottish Cup because we are trying to push Highland football. We want the two teams back in the Premiership. “In a play-off, I’d want Inverness to go up. Yes, there are rivalries and fights on the way but it is a friendly rivalry.” Ayr took the lead when Miller, on loan at Somerset Park from Celtic, turned the ball in at the back post. However, with the interval looming, Ross County drew level when Ross Doohan dived to punch away a Josh Mullin cross but only into the path of Graham who drilled low into the net. It got better again for the visitors after the break when Graham bulleted a header home. Michael Gardyne then teed up Graham for his hat-trick. There was a melee at the final whistle as County celebrated; Ayr substitute Ross Docherty was red-carded in the tunnel for throwing the ball into Daniel Armstrong’s face from close range while the County player took a booking for his part in the altercation.