Game­plan did not help a thread­bare line-up

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - THE SCORE - BY JOHN MAXWELL

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.

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