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Ross County 1 Kilmarnock 2: Larsson-esque Boyd does his level best

T HE stereotype is of a lazy goal glutton who was too much of a luxury performer to shine consistently on the European stage with Rangers or answer Scotland's prayers for salvation.

The reality? Well, the humble Kris Boyd knows he is no Henrik Larsson, no matter what the statistics were saying last night.

Boyd, though, seems reborn these days as an industrious and selfless servant of his team. And, compellingly, he still harbours that golden touch at the age of 30.

Yesterday's winner in Dingwall means Boyd has now hit the same number of Scottish top-flight goals as Larsson did, 174 to be precise. The finish, fittingly, was a bit of a Larsson-esque work of art - a deftly-measured, instinctive lift over Ross County goalkeeper Mark Brown from the edge of the box. It earned Kilmarnock their first away win of the season and lifted them out of the relegation play-off spot, above yesterday's hosts.

"It was up there as one of my better ones and it's a massive win for us," Boyd said. "It is good to get goals, but I don't think I can be mentioned in the same breath as Henrik Larsson.

"He was a fantastic player. I've based my game on goals and in that regard I'm up there with him. But playing-wise, ability-wise I'm nowhere near him.

"Today I'm more disappointed with the easier ones I didn't take. I don't look too much at records and what might happen in the next few years. I look to next week against Dundee United."

County started brightly before their recently-familiar Achilles' heel was exposed defensively.

It was former Rangers man Boyd who sent the ball across from the right, but too much space was granted to young scorer Chris Johnston.

County warned to their task and impressed at times with their passing, while lacking a little in cutting edge. They were back in business after a wonderful move in 33 minutes.

Melvin De Leeuw fed Graham Carey on the left flank and he crossed low towards the far side of the box where Mihael Kovavcevic's blast was parried by Craig Samson. With Samson off balance, in strode Stuart Kettlewell to smash in the rebound.

It was the first time County had scored against Kilmarnock in six meetings between the clubs but they weren't to get their first victory. From nowhere, County defender Branislav Micic met a chipped ball forward carelessly with his head to send the ball spinning to Boyd in space.

From near the edge of the box, the recalled Scotland striker sent a classy glided finish over the despairing Brown.

Boyd also hit the woodwork a couple of times but there was no criticism from his manager, Allan Johnston.

"It was our first away win and there were a lot of outstanding performances there," Johnston observed. "Kris Boyd has been playing like that. You can see he's working a lot harder.

"People criticise his work-rate, but he's desperate for the team to do well. He's a real inspiration to the younger players. It was an unbelievable finish, but that's what he is capable of."

Deflated County manager Derek Adams is still scratching his head over defensive errors.

"Defensively, we were poor," he admitted. "If you don't defend right you're not going to win games. We are making individual errors and it's not good enough."

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