Boyce brains Killie

Ross County manager Jim McIntyre was delighted with his side’s first home league victory of the season after a 2-0 success over Kilmarnock.

County have taken six points from their first three outings in the Ladbrokes Premiership, and McIntyre senses they can improve still further after in-form Liam Boyce’s double settled a scrappy game.

Boyce scored just before the half-hour mark after playing a slick one-two with Michael Gardyne, and he netted a killer second 16 minutes from the end with a close-range shot after good work from substitute Alex Schalk.

The 25-year-old Boyce also netted a hat-trick in the win at Inverness last week.

McIntyre said: “Liam has a fantastic picture of the game in his brain. When he does things really sharply, he is a real handful to play against.

“His goals were scrappy today compared to the ones he scored against Inverness. But I love those goals because he’s in the right area – and that’s what we’ve really been concentrating on in training with the forwards.”

The County boss added: “We ground out a result today. We didn’t play our best free-flowing football. Sometimes we played some nice stuff but on other occasions we had to defend a lot of high balls from free-kicks.

“The one slight annoyance was the amount of cheap free-kicks we gave away to put ourselves under pressure. But my back line stood up to that fantastically well.”

Kilmarnock manager Lee Clark rued some poor defending in the lead-up to the goals.

Clark said: “The two goals we lost were, without a shadow of a doubt, preventable. They were disappointing goals, to say the least.

“The first came from a good bit of play from us, actually. Jordan Jones got to the by-line and they cleared the cross, breaking from the edge of their box.

“We’ve been disappointed with how we’ve defended. The second was very preventable as well, getting caught off the long kick from the keeper.”

The former Huddersfield and Birmingham manager added: “Football is about learning, about looking at your own performance and judging that and deciding which way you want to go. We have a long journey back now, but we have to make good decisions going forward.”

On a more positive note, Clark said: “I thought we started the game brightly, we were more than a match for Ross County. We got down the outsides quite well.

“Young Dean Hawkshaw came on and did well. He was impressive – I really like him. We missed him last week after a head injury in the first game.

“It is difficult to assess fully without seeing the footage back after you’ve lost a game but you learn from the wins and you learn from the losses. That’s what we’ve got to do tonight.”

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