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The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - THE SCORE -

de­cent Premier­ship start to the ranks of out­stand­ing.

St John­stone were des­per­ately striv­ing to scram­ble off bot­tom place with a first win of the cam­paign.

It didn’t re­quire the pan­tomime vil­lain sideshow of Richard Foster’s first bow against Saints since a high-profile spat with Wright to add bite to the oc­ca­sion. Tack­les flew in with venom at times.

Joe Chalmers’ 10th minute opener should have been ex­tin­guished by a Ste­vie May penalty 10 min­utes later, but the Saints’ striker was de­nied by a bril­liant Ross Laid­law save, the se­cond such act of re­demp­tion from a pre­vi­ous er­ror in as many weeks.

County’s man­age­ment team were en­raged by the award, claim­ing Tom Grivosti was in­no­cent of bundling over Danny Swan­son in the box.

May made amends, though – sneak­ing be­hind the County de­fence on to Swan­son’s dinked pass af­ter 34 min­utes and plac­ing a neat fin­ish un­der Laid­law’s dive.

It seemed just like old times from the man who hit 32 goals in 55 starts for Saints up to Au­gust be­fore leaner times at Sh­effield Wed­nes­day, Pre­ston and Aberdeen.

Con­tro­versy flared again af­ter 51 min­utes. Billy Mckay was left writhing on the ground af­ter what the home tech­ni­cal area saw as high studs to the torso from Mur­ray David­son.

Matthew Kennedy raced on and un­leashed a stun­ning long-dis­tance strike in off the post to edge the bot­tom team ahead.

County, never re­ally dom­i­nant on the ball, were re­lent­lessly de­ter­mined and found a way back af­ter 68 min­utes.

David­son clam­bered all over Michael Gar­dyne 22 yards out and Blair Spit­tal, the for­mer Partick This­tle mid­fielder, swept a won­der­ful free-kick high past Zan­der Clark.

There were edgy, nerve-rack­ing mo­ments for both camps in the fi­nal 20 min­utes and, as the dust set­tled, County co-man­ager Ket­tlewell and Wright re­mained at log­ger­heads.

“When you look at the de­ci­sions that went against us to­day, they were ab­so­lutely mind-blow­ing,” Ket­tlewell said.

“Thank­fully Ross makes a save from the penalty, but it’s def­i­nitely not a penalty.

“Then there was the de­ci­sion that goes against us where Billy Mckay is fouled in the lead-up to the se­cond goal.

“It was a good strike from Matthew Kennedy, who was a men­ace all day, but when your player has six stud marks in his midriff from a straight leg chal­lenge, with three of­fi­cials in and around that area, to miss that is quite in­cred­i­ble.

“We’re de­lighted our play­ers picked them­selves up from go­ing be­hind and we were able to get a point.”

EC­STATIC: Ross County’s Blair Spit­tal cel­e­brates scor­ing the se­cond-half equaliser against St John­stone in their

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