Gameplan did not help a threadbare line-up
Ross County are still remarkably top of the league by a three point margin in spite of two straight defeats. However, criticism must be prefaced by acknowledging the extent of the injuries – there are enough first-choice players on the sidelines to wipe out most other teams.
County started well, as they tend to do, but Queens drew first blood. A long ball over the top of Keith Watson’s head found Stephen Dobbie in space and the rest was inevitable. After going a goal down County didn’t look like retrieving the result. Queens got back in numbers, ruffled feathers with some deliberately niggly play and counter-attacked with precision.
County used a traditional 4-4-2. It was good to see Josh Mullin and Michael Gardyne start as wingers together for the first time in a while, but the blend in the team wasn’t right. The forwards were static and the central midfielders reduced to sideways passing. That is acceptable if there is quality from the advancing full-backs, but there wasn’t: Tom Grivosti is doing his best but he isn’t a full-back, while Kenny Van der Weg was unfortunately miles off the pace.
Without a dedicated midfielder to sit in front of the centre-backs, Dobbie and Lyndon Dykes repeatedly played triangles around the defenders and ran riot.
The selection didn’t suit the strategy, but the managers’ hands were tied to a large extent. However, poor discipline is something that can be sorted. Mullin allowed the opponents to get under his skin. That follows the manager and captain being dismissed last week and Brian Graham’s red card before then. When the leaders can’t keep composed, it’s hard to expect better from others.