AYR UNITED 3 Ross County 3

AYR United and Ross County underlined why they would both be worthy additions to the Premiership as they swatted aside appalling overhead conditions to serve up a six-goal thriller.

No-one dared blink at Somerset Park in case they missed a segment of action from a game that never once disappointed as the Championship’s top two went head to head.

The draw keeps Ayr a point clear at the top with a game in hand as they try to bridge a 40-year wait to return to the top flight.

Josh Mullin gave the Highlanders an early lead but a Lawrence Shankland double before the break, taking his season’s tally to 28, and an Andy Geggan strike seemed to put Ayr in the driving seat.

However, two goals in four minutes from Billy Mckay and Don Cowie earned County a point.

United boss McCall claimed: “We lost the toss which was crucial. The first-half was a real game of football and we played really well. Lawrence actually missed his easiest chance for what would have been his hat-trick.

“The weather really changed for the second-half and we found ourselves playing into a hurricane.

“They went long ball and there’s nothing wrong with that and they thoroughly deserved a draw although we had the best chance of the second-half with Liam Smith from two yards.

“But we dug in and and it’s a good point in the end.”

County took the lead with a stunning effort when Stelios Demetriou crossed from the left and Mullin pounced with a powerful volley into the top corner.

Ayr were level five minutes later when Michael Rose was pushed by Ross Draper in the box and Shankland rifled the penalty into the bottom corner.

There was no stopping Shankland who put The Honest Men ahead four minutes later, the prolific striker pouncing on Declan McDaid’s free-kick to stab past Scott Fox.

United struck again when Shankland’s close-range header was stopped on the line but the clearance only went as far as Geggan who tapped home.

County co-manager Steven Ferguson was ordered to the stand for his comments as this volatile match continued to boil.

However, his team were back in contention on the restart when Mckay was pushed inside the box by Steven Bell and the Staggies striker wrong-footed Ross Doohan with the resulting penalty.

It was all square soon after as Doohan beat out a shot from Mullin only for Cowie to lash the loose ball into the roof of the net.

County co-boss Ferguson could not fathom his sending-off, claiming: “I thought you had to swear and I didn’t. I was worried about Keith Watson who was knocked out.

“Once the dust settles say we’ll probably say it was a great advert for the Championship in December.”