Ross County 0-3 Hearts: Dauda brace seals win for visitors
By Mark Crellin
Last Updated: 10/02/16 11:22pm
In-form Hearts tightened their grip on third spot in the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership as they secured a 3-0 win at fourth-placed Ross County.
Jambos new boy Abiola Dauda came off the bench to score twice in the last five minutes and wrap up the points for the visitors, who made it nine games without defeat.
They had earlier taken a 53rd-minute lead thanks to a somewhat fortuitous goal from Jamie Walker, which came against the run of play after the hosts had created the better of the chances.
Hearts have now beaten Ross County three times this season and they are 11 points clear of the Highlands club in the standings.
However, the scoreline was harsh on the home side, who had the better of the first-half once Sam Nicholson of Hearts had put an early shot just wide.
It was all County for a spell after that and Ian McShane went close with a free-kick in the 14th minute.
Jackson Irvine just failed to get on the end of a Michael Gardyne cross, and Irvine then put a thumping header narrowly over from a McShane corner, when he probably should have hit the target.
County new boy David Goodwillie then latched onto an Irvine pass but his shot was headed over the bar by Hearts defender John Souttar.
And the hosts went even closer after the break as Liam Boyce smacked a long-range curler against the crossbar.
But the visitors then took the lead in bizarre fashion when Don Cowie, making his Hearts debut at his old stomping ground, sent over a corner and Irvine's attempted headed clearance hit Walker and bounced back into the net.
County pushed hard for an equaliser and substitute Alex Schalk had a shot saved by Neil Alexander after getting on the end of a Boyce cross.
Boyce then flashed a cross-shot across the face of the goal and Gardyne shot over the bar from the edge of the box before Dauda, who has arrived on loan from Vitesse, produced two superb finishes to wrap it up for Hearts.
He struck first in the 86th-minute, latching onto a long clearance and cutting in from the left before calmly passing the ball through a defender's legs and into the corner of the net.
And he was at it again three minutes later, curling a first-time shot into the net from the edge of the box after brilliant work from fellow sub Dario Zanatta, who skilfully beat a man inside the Hearts half and then raced down the pitch before laying the ball off to Dauda.