Derek Adams was delighted to see what he felt was “a great advert for Scottish football” in Ross County’s first outing since his outburst deriding the quality of the games he had witnessed since returning to the cinch Premiership in November.
After their 1-0 defeat at home to Dundee before Christmas, the Staggies boss was critical of his own team and Scottish football in general, saying “the standard in the games I’ve seen is so poor”.
But he was far more heartened by what he saw on Saturday as County drew 2-2 at Hearts in an eventful encounter at Tynecastle.
The Staggies went into a two-goal lead through an Alex Cochrane own goal and a Yan Dhanda free-kick before Hearts hit back through substitute Kenneth Vargas and Lawrence Shankland.
“I thought it was an excellent game,” he said.
“I thought it was a great advert for Scottish football, and that’s what I was talking about.
“It was two teams going for it, creating chances, scoring goals, taking risks. I hadn’t seen that in my first five games. That’s what I said and I’m entitled to my opinion. But today it was a great game of football.
“The way both teams went for it and played with risk is what we’re all here to see. That’s what the paying punter wants to see. Excitement, chances on goal, disallowed goals, disallowed penalties, we’re all here on a Saturday to see that.”
Adams felt County looked refreshed after a fortnight’s break between games, while Hearts had played twice during that period.
“We have had that break, and Hearts haven’t,” said Adams.
“We caught them and probably surprised them with how attacking we were.
“With the positions we got into, they couldn’t deal with us and they had to change formation in the first half. Over the afternoon the creative players we had really shone through.”
Hearts boss Steven Naismith, who felt his side should have had two penalties at 0-0, was disappointed with his team’s “leggy” performance but pleased with the spirit they showed to fight back from 2-0 down.
“I thought this was probably going to be one of the most challenging games in this period,” he said.
“There are bigger games like the derby and things like that but players are up for that.
“With this one, the timing of the game, when it is, what we have had to get through to get to it – it was always going to be difficult. So we have got to be pleased with getting something from the game.
“We will look back at the game and there will be positives. Hopefully we are looking back at this at the end of the season and saying it was a big point.
“It has been a good few years since we have come back from 2-0 down. That’s a positive. But the frustration is that even with how bad we played in the first half, we still had opportunities where we broke through them.
“We never really took those chances and then the two penalty instances, if we score the first goal then the dynamic of the game totally changes.”
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