Ayr United 1
Ross County 3
League (Championship)

Ayr United
1 - 3
Ross County 

League (Championship)
Friday, April 19th, 2019
Somerset Park
Attendance: 1,692

Calvin Miller (12)
Graham (42', 46', 71')

Team Managers
Ian McCall

Starting Eleven
1. Ross Doohan
3. Daniel Harvie
Liam Smith
11. Declan McDaid
6. Andrew Geggan
Aaron Muirhead
8. Robbie Crawford
Andy Murdoch
Calvin Miller
Nicky Cadden
7. Michael Moffat
1 Fox
2 Fraser
44 Grivosti
12 Boyle
3 Kelly
14 Mullin
8 Lindsay
26 Cowie
7 Gardyne
19 Graham
27 Stewart

Ellis Hare Reid
Finn Ecrepont
Luke McCowan
Mark Kerr
10. Alan Forrest
23. Ross Docherty
4 Fontaine
10 McManus
11 Vigurs
16 Spence
21 Munro
24 Paton
31 Armstrong

Alan Forrest for Michael Moffat (67)
Mark Kerr for Andrew Geggan (75)
Ross Docherty for Nicky Cadden (75)

Daniel Harvie

Red Cards
Ross Docherty (95)
Match Officials

Euan Anderson (Referee)

Match Report

Ross County all but sealed the Championship title after Brian Graham's hat-trick brought the league leaders victory against Ayr United.

If second-placed Dundee United fail to beat Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday, then County are assured of first place and promotion.

Ayr took the lead through Calvin Miller's close-range finish.

But Graham levelled with his right foot, headed the visitors in front and added the third with his left foot.

The first of the striker's goals was struck from 10 yards just before half-time.

The big centre-forward nodded in his second from Josh Mullin's cross, before Michael Gardner supplied the delivery for Graham to complete a perfect treble.

Ross County are now nine points clear at the top with two games left to play, while Dundee United have Saturday's match in hand.

To make a late collapse even more unlikely, the Dingwall side enjoy a goal difference that is 20 better than their nearest challenger.

Ian McCall's Ayr still require one more point to seal a promotion play-off spot.

Missing Lawrence Shankland, Steven Bell and Michael Rose through injury, it was always going to be tough for the Honest Men but on-loan Celtic player Miller gave them hope when he thumped into the roof of the net from Nicky Cadden's cross after 12 minutes.

But errors led to County's equaliser before Graham continued to show his ruthlessness in front of goal after the break, taking his tally to 12 for the season.

Robbie Crawford nearly brought the hosts back into the match but his fine, cushioned volley hit the post.

Ayr's Ross Docherty was shown a red card after the final whistle for throwing the ball at opponent Daniel Armstrong.

County mentality makes the difference - reaction
Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell: "It's a bit raw at the moment. Obviously, it's not arithmetically done but we're in a great position thanks to Brian Graham coming up with the goods.

"We showed great character like we have all season. It's all down to mentality. We asked a few questions of each other at half-time because we weren't at our best.

"This run of games has been really difficult but our second-half performance merited the victory.

Ross County striker Brian Graham: "Dundee United need a miracle now. We'll enjoy our night and see what happens tomorrow. I've won a few things with the club. It's a family unit, a really enjoyable place, and we all love it."

Ayr United manager Ian McCall: "I felt that some of our physically bigger players being out was a bit of a telling factor. Michel Gardyne was exceptional for Ross County and it's a tremendous achievement for their two young coaches. We want to win our last three games and go into the play-offs in good form.

"Lawrence Shankland might be OK for Tuesday against Partick Thistle. Steven Bell should be OK."

Match report written by BBC

Squad Statistics (as at April 19th, 2019)

2018-19 All Time
Ross Doohan (GK)20 42 - 42 -
Daniel Harvie20 39 - 39 -
Liam Smith - 34 - 34 -
Calvin Miller - 101101
Andy Murdoch - 401401
Robbie Crawford24 39 - 441
Aaron Muirhead - 6 - 6 -
Andrew Geggan31 282352
Declan McDaid - 384457
Nicky Cadden - 8 - 8 -
Michael Moffat34 39104612
Ross Docherty (sub)26 211271
Mark Kerr (sub) - 25 - 25 -
Alan Forrest (sub) - 214254

League Table (as at April 19th, 2019)

No league table has been added for this season.