Andy Halliday scored the winner in a frantic first half to add to Lawrence Shankland's equaliser after Jordan White had given Ross County the lead; It was Hearts' first victory in the Premiership since beating Motherwell on September 18 and moved them up to sixth in the league
Monday 31 October 2022 09:34, UK
Hearts moved back into the top half of the Scottish Premiership as they came from behind to end their winless run of four league matches with a 2-1 victory over Ross County in Dingwall.
Andy Halliday scored the winner in a frantic first half to add to Lawrence Shankland's equaliser after Jordan White had given Ross County the lead.
It was Hearts' first victory in the Premiership since beating Motherwell on September 18 and moved them up to sixth in the league.
The Staggies are now at the foot of the Premiership on goal difference after only scoring seven goals so far this season.
Ross County made one change to the team that lost at Kilmarnock the previous weekend as Yan Dhanda replaced the injured Ross Callachan.
Hearts brought in Connor Smith and Robert Snodgrass for Stephen Kingsley and Jorge Grant after their win over RFS in the Europa Conference League on Thursday night.
The Staggies started off confidently and thought they had taken the lead after five minutes when Jordy Hiwula found the net from close range.
But the assistant referee ruled he was offside and the first VAR check in Dingwall agreed with the official's decision.
But the Staggies took the lead in the 11th minute when Dhanda's cross from the right wing caught the Hearts defence unaware.
White then pounced from close range to fire into the net to put Ross County in front.
The lead lasted only four minutes after Shankland was allowed to charge towards the edge of the box, although he saw his first shot blocked by Staggies goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw.
But the ball came rolling back to the striker who fired home the rebound to equalise.
Hearts then took the lead five minutes later when Snodgrass' corner found Halliday, who beat County's defence to nod a terrific header from 12 yards out into the top-left corner.
Ross County threatened to equalise before half-time with Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon forced to pull off a good save from White and Jordan Tillson nodded a header wide of the left post.
The Staggies continued their search for a leveller in the second half, with Callum Johnson beating the Hearts defence on the edge of the six-yard box, but he nodded Jack Baldwin's cross from the left wing over the bar.
But Hearts were rarely threatened in the final half hour as they comfortably held on for all three points.
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson:
"It is always hard up here," Neilson said. "They are a good team, although they're having a difficult period within the league. But it was the same last year and they kicked on to the top six so we knew what we were going to get from a Malky team.
"They are very strong defensively and there is good energy in the middle and a strength that makes things difficult for us.
"We are really pleased to get the three points and it moves us up the league a wee bit, closer to where we want to be."
He added: "[Third place] is where we want to be and we have another game next week and depending on what happens at Pittodrie on Friday night we could potentially have the chance to move back into third.
"Aberdeen and Hibs are good teams this year. Good teams, good managers. But our objective is to get third place in the league. We want European football and if we want that then we have to balance that with playing in Europe on a Thursday night."
Ross County manager Malky Mackay:
"I asked for us at half-time to come out and go again because over the piece in the first half we did," said Mackay.
"Second half I can't ask for more because to dominate the ball and have as many shots against a good team, the only thing I can ask for is finding the net.
"We are playing against one of the top teams in the league, to dominate and have Hearts penned in shows me we have a group that are getting it and coming together.
"We just need to put points on the board, but we are as good as five teams in the league."