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Late call brings an early reward as Slew makes promising first impression in derby victory

Jordan Slew had only been a Ross County player for a little under five hours but he had made a lasting impression.

Scott Boyd celebrates after opening the scoring
Scott Boyd celebrates after opening the scoring

The paperwork needed to register the Blackburn Rovers striker on loan until the end of the season was completed a noon yesterday, with his debut coming some three hours later in a Highland derby victory.

The ink was barely dry on his loan agreement when the 21-year-old was putting his signature on a win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle, the former England under-19 internationalist providing County with an outlet and presence which the side have sorely lacked this season. The home defence found him hard to pin down and County's two quick-fire goals early in the first half - from Scott Boyd and Alex Cooper - proved enough to arrest a terrible run of results.

"We spoke to a few people about Slew," said Derek Adams, the County manager. "Eric Black is a good friend of myself and my father's and he was here today; Eric helped us with the deal and spoke highly of Jordan. He is a player who has gone for £1m [when Blackburn signed Slew from Sheffield United in 2011]. So he has talent and we're able to give him games. He provides something we've needed. He has pedigree and maybe something to prove and it helps the other players as well.

"They see a player of that calibre coming into the club and it gives them a lift. The deal only went through at just the back of 12 today. I was working to try and get it through with our secretary Donnie McBean and the SFA's registrations man Sandy Bryson. It was a late call."

It would pay off quickly enough. Everything had pointed towards an Inverness victory - with some bookmakers offering 5-1 against a County win before kick-off - but the Dingwall side had other ideas, with two smart finishes from Boyd and then Cooper enough to secure their side a first away win since February 26 last year.

More importantly, perhaps, it has also disrupted a sequence comprising nine defeats and one draw, one which dates back to the beginning of October. Aaron Doran replied for Inverness as the match reached its denouement, but it was too little, too late as the home side's search for a win in the SPFL Premiership stretched to four games.

Still, the 37th Highland derby could hardly have pitted together two teams with more sharply contrasting fortunes, since Inverness were riding high in the push for a European place and County were in the relegation play-off zone. The visitors' most recent experiences in the Highland derby hardly made for better reading, with five straight defeats in their most recent visits to Inverness.

That burden was shifted to unfamiliar shoulders yesterday but Slew seemed unencumbered; his control, strength and presence highlighted by two early County attacks. It took just 15 minutes for the young Englishman to help force his side ahead - shifting a pass to Gary Glen, who dispatched the ball across from the left. Boyd timed his run well and the defender struck a powerful, angled shot past Inverness goalkeeper Dean Brill, albeit via a slight deflection off Carl Tremarco.

County had doubled that lead two minutes later. Again, Slew's control and excellent cross out on the right was pivotal and unleashed Cooper, the County youngster twisting and turning on the ball on the left side of the box. He then cut inside Graeme Shinnie and clipped a shot low past Brill and into the net.

Inverness tried to retaliate after 26 minutes when Billy McKay dinked a shot into the arms of Michael Fraser, but Inverness' most telling impact was very nearly left on the napper of Stuart Kettlewell. Ross Draper, the Inverness midfielder, swung an elbow at the County player and was sent off.

Doran's late chip into the net was cold comfort on a chilling day for Inverness. "We're playing some nice stuff but we are beating ourselves at times," said manager John Hughes. "The quicker we learn the better."

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