The Sunday Post (Newcastle)

Saints on the rise as Carey sinks Staggies


Saints’ Liam Gordon, left, and Ross County’s Ryan Leak, above, battle for possession.

their lead well and barely gave the Staggies a sniff of goal.

He said: “Getting off the bottom of the league helps in the short term but we need to use it to put together a run.

“Theambitio­nhasgottob­e to climb the table, that’s what we’ve got to do.

“I talked after drawing with Motherwell about us getting ‘spooked’.

“Well, we’ve dealt with the ghosts. That was evidence enough that we can cope with pressure of being in front.

“They battered everything into the box.

“Yet Dimi Mitov hasn’t made a save. That pleased me enormously.”

After flying out the traps in Alex Cleland’s caretaker win over Kilmarnock and Levein’s dugout return against Motherwell, Saints were much more restrained.

Dan Phillips bustled upfield to feed Carey who cut inside from the left and dragged an effort harmlessly wide.

Scott Allardice felled Ryan McGowan with a fierce 20-yard drive. His next dig at goal – the first on target in 42 minutes – was easily gathered by Mitov.

There was more goalmouth action in five minutes of the second period than the entire first half and Nicky Clark almost conjured a Goal Of The Season candidate.

Under pressure from Connor Randall and with back to goal,

Clark cushioned on his chest before whipping a stunning left-foot shot over his shoulder.

It beat Ross Laidlaw but came back off the bar.

Carey was next to try his luck and the unsighted Laidlaw blocked well on the line.

That flurry of activity forward left Saints prone to a counteratt­ack and they were pleased to see Yan Dhanda blaze over.

Clark’s enforced exit was a blow to Saints and a potential worry for the weeks ahead.

The striker, three goals and three starts into his comeback from long-term injury, went down unchalleng­ed with a calf strain as he joined in an attack.

But Carey ensured they retained a goal threat.

The excellent Matt Smith started the sweeping move with a brilliant ball to Carey who released Robinson out wide.

He cut back to Stevie May in the box who teed up Carey.

The Irishman’s shot beat Laidlaw from 16 yards into the top corner.

May had a chance to seal the victory on 85 minutes. Phillips picked him ou six yards from goal. but Laidlaw’s point-blank block kept him out.

But, other than a Will Nightingal­e header straight at Mitov, they scarcely threatened at the other end.

“The thing that pleased me most was the way that they dug in,” added Levein.

Carey scores for Saints.

REF WATCH: Boredom got to NICK WALSH. There was a flurry of bookings that were avoidable.

MATT SMITH has been improving with every week recently and this was his best display. He’s showing why he has 19 caps for Wales. Great on the ball and at picking the right pass.

Graham Carey’s goal was the deserved culminatio­n of some fine Saints work and allowed them to defend their box with excellent centre-half play.

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