Ross County and Livingston came away with an equal share of the spoils, with both teams getting a goal each and a red card each. Ex-Lion, Richard Brittain’s penalty cancelled out Kyle Jacobs goal before Stevie Craig and Paul Watson were given red cards minutes apart in separate incidents.
In a dull first half chances were few and far between, with Ross County edging the game. It took till 24 minutes for the first significant chance to arrise. Stevie Craig getting a header on target from a cross, but this ended in the hands of Andy McNeil. The game livened up after this, with Livi responding less than a minute later: Russell, Fox and Scougall all misfiring from the same opportunity.
Former Lions Rocco Quinn and Colin McMenamin almost combined to open the scoring on the half hour, McMenamin’s chance cleared to Quinn whose shot was deflected over for a corner.
The game died down for a while before County’s first penalty claim. A corner in by Richard Brittain led to handball claims, which were waved away by referee Mat Northcroft.
But it was Livingston who opened the scoring on 40 minutes. David Sinclair’s free kick was met beautifully at the back post by the leaping Kyle Jacobs to score his first league goal of the season.
However just 5 minutes later the home side was level again with Stefan Scougall questionably adjudged to have fouled in the box. Richard Brittain made no mistake in sending McNeil the wrong way and levelled the game to the delight of the home support.
The second half was a brighter affair, with the sides exchanging chances. Scougall sent in a neat flick over the keeper, but Grant Munro successfully cleared off the line. Iain Vigurs and Iain Russell both had chances saved by the keepers at opposite ends of the stadium. County continued to send in dangerous crosses, several being cleared or shot wide.
The best chance of the half so far came to Iain Vigurs: his free kick from the corner of the penalty box parried wide by McNeil. McMenamin then followed this up with a header from close range going just wide.
Paul Watson was lucky to stay on the park for a last man tackle on Colin McMenamin, helped in no small way by the former Lion’s theatrical tumble, receiving only a yellow card.
But minutes later County’s Steven Craig saw red on the linesman’s call, apparently having witnessed Craig felling Livi’s Craig Barr in an off-the-ball incident. Referee Northcroft did not hesitate reaching for his top pocket.
Moments later the numbers were evened in highly controversial style, with Paul Watson given his second yellow - and first red card of his senior career - for allegedly fouling McMenamin as both went airborne for the ball.
The pace and head of the game continued to the end. Russell almost scored to give the Lions the lead, but only managed to head the ball straight into the keeper’s hands from 2 yards.
Bobby Barr had the next opportunity, but fired well over from space, before Sinclair’s low shot went wide. The chances continued for the visitors with substitute Jonathon Brown and Scougall having shots saved by the keeper.
McMenamin was then booked for diving, though many in the home end were calling for a penalty as the ex-Lion appeared to be pulled down by keeper Andy McNeil.
Substitute Rory Boulding had the penultimate shot of the game, but it was a poor effort after a productive counter attack from the travelling side. It was Russell who had the final shot, but his effort was saved by Michael Fraser.
In an eventful game the Lions once again failed to capitalise on a lead, but an unlucky move by Stefan Scougall led to a penalty. A point on the road was ultimately a good result, but the team must get wins in an extremely tight league.
Ross County: Fraser, Miller (Kettlewell 74), Fitzpatrick, Boyd, Munro, Vigurs, McMenamin, Quinn (Lawson 84), Craig, Brittain, Corcoran (Gardyne 46)
Subs not used: Malin, Byrne
Livingston: McNeil, Ky.Jacobs, Talbot, Scougall (Boulding 86), C.Barr, Watson, Fox, Kn.Jacobs (B.Barr 46), Deuchar (Brown 69), Russell, Sinclair
Subs not used: Jamieson, McNulty
Ref: M Northcroft
Match report by Chris Naismith