Stephen Kingsley earns point for Hearts at Ross County

Hearts and County shared the points after a 2-2 draw at Dingwall.

Stephen Kingsley earns point for Hearts at Ross County SNS Group

Stephen Kingsley’s free-kick earned Hearts a point in an entertaining 2-2 draw against Ross County in Dingwall.

Blair Spittal’s first-half double put County ahead after Liam Boyce netted against his former club early on and Hearts were toiling until Kingsley struck from almost 25 yards midway through the second half.

The visitors pushed for a winner that would have put them top of the cinch Premiership but on-loan Charlton goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer enjoyed an impressive debut for County.

The Staggies had a last-gasp chance to claim their first win of the season but John Souttar produced a goal-line clearance.

Boyce opened the scoring in the ninth minute after Hearts cut through the middle of their opponents.

Craig Halkett stepped out of defence and fed Gary Mackay-Steven, who spotted the run of Boyce into the left channel. The Northern Ireland striker’s effort took a major deflection and beat Maynard-Brewer at his near post.

Boyce refused to celebrate out of respect to his former employers and the visiting fans were silenced two minutes later. Spittal exchanged passes with Jordan White and drove home from 22 yards through a crowd of bodies.

Hearts responded well. Jack Baldwin blocked Barrie McKay’s goal-bound shot after the winger got in behind on his first start and Ashley-Brewer made two excellent stops from Armand Gnanduillet efforts, the first a powerful strike from 20 yards and the second a header from 10 yards.

The visitors’ momentum stalled after White suffered a head wound following an aerial collision with his former Livingston team-mate Halkett.

The bandaged White had a good chance moments later but missed his kick from Ross Callachan’s cutback. Callachan then diverted Regan Charles-Cook’s dangerous cross just over from six yards.

Mackay-Steven missed a great chance at the other end after being set-up by Gnanduillet, making a mess of his attempted finish with his weaker right foot.

County were in front 10 seconds before the interval when Charles-Cook got to the by-line past Beni Baningime and cut back for Spittal to score in off Souttar.

The home side had the better of the opening stages of the second period and Callachan volleyed into the side-netting following more good work from Charles-Cook.

Spittal’s hopes of a hat-trick ended in the 56th minute when he was replaced by Alex Robertson and Hearts were gifted a way back in the 66th minute, although Kingsley produced a piece of brilliance thereafter.

Ben Paton was booked for a clumsy challenge from behind on Boyce and Kingsley curled home the free-kick in style.

Boyce headed wide shortly afterwards and Maynard-Brewer got down well to save from substitute Jamie Walker as a rejuvenated Hearts poured forward.

Both teams pressed for a late winner and the hosts came closest. Souttar stopped Joseph Hungbo netting with Craig Gordon beaten and White headed the rebound over as the ball flew up towards him.

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