A BILLY Mckay double strengthened Ross County’s grip at the top of Betfred Cup group B and added to St Johnstone’s early season woes.

After seeing their pointless side fritter away a string of opportunities, agitated Perth supporters will be hoping the presence in the directors’ box of former striker Rowan Vine, now representing Aberdeen’s Stevie May, may finally herald the arrival of reinforcements. 

May is being pursued by both Dundee clubs, Kilmarnock , St Mirren and the Staggies but the 26-year-old could be tempted to turn back the clock and return to familiar territory.

“We’re looking to bring in at least two players. I’ve got no update on how things are moving with a striker or a defender we’re trying to bring in too,” said Wright. 

HeraldScotland:

READ MORE: Rangers 1-1 Blackburn: Steven Gerrard's side draw Ibrox friendly ahead of Progres clash

“We didn’t make the most of things, people were getting into the wrong positions or wide players were in too early.

“We didn’t create at Montrose and it was a difficult night.

“We created more against a side in the same league as us and we looked a better side.

“We’ve got to somehow get the right personnel in to take the chances.”

County co-manager Steven Ferguson said: “We won’t read too much into it but it is pleasing result.

“We didn’t start particularly well and it is early days but it doesn’t do us any harm.”

The Perth line-up showed five changes from the side which endured an embarrassing 1-0 midweek defeat from League One part-timers Montrose, with Zander Clark, Liam Craig, David Wotherspoon, Steven Anderson and Chris Kane all returning from knocks sustained in pre-season.

Three of the group returning to action featured in the opening goal after eight minutes, with right-back Scott Tanser sending County keeper Ross Laidlaw the wrong way from the penalty spot.

HeraldScotland:

READ MORE: Chikhura goalkeeper warns Aberdeen of intense atmosphere

The opportunity was created by Tom Grivosti’s reckless six-yard box challenge on striker Kane, with Anderson causing panic by winning an aerial joust with rival defender Liam Fontaine to head on a Craig corner kick.

Saints contrived to miss a series of openings to take the tie beyond the reach of the Highlanders.

And they paid the price as in-form County striker Billy Mckay followed up a 30th minute leveller with a stoppage time goal to turn the tide before the break.

County had been unable to take the game to Saints until the half hour mark, when an ill-judged tackle by skipper Jason Kerr gifted the Staggies a chance to draw level.

Initially Mckay was denied from the spot by a diving save from keeper Clark but followed up to steer home the rebound from five yards.

And seconds before the interval the Irishman was played into the box by Blair Spittal and wormed his way into a position to slide his fourth of the campaign past the advancing keeper.

The Perth camp was left to reflect on wasted chances, with Danny Swanson guilty on two counts.

After 17 minutes he lashed a Murray Davidson cutback over the target from 16 yards and later ran out of steam after being played through by the midfielder.

HeraldScotland:

READ MORE: Neil Lennon insists Scott Brown is one of Celtic's most influential players from the past 20 years

In the 21st minute a mistake by County keeper Laidlaw allowed Michael O’Halloran to sweep past him but the winger opted to shoot from an acute angle and his effort rebounded from an upright.

Home attacker Matty Kennedy, who had sustained an injury in the pre-season clash with Glentoran, replaced David Wotherspoon for the second-half.

But keeper Clark was required to pull off back to back saves minutes after the re-start, getting a vital touch to a Stewart snapshot before booting Liam Kelly’s tightly angled follow up off the line.

County midfielder Vigurs attracted the attention of referee Bobby Madden and a 63rd minute caution for clattering Davidson, seconds before Joe Chalmers drilled a low 12-yard effort inches beyond the far post following neat work by Josh Mullen.

Saints substitute Kennedy made an impression on the right flank when he whipped over a teasing cross but neither Kane or Davidson could provide the finishing touch after charging into the six-yard box.

Staggies fans celebrated a third, prematurely, before realising Mullen’s back post header had found the side net, while Craig had his own celebrations cut short by an offside flag.

In the closing minutes, Perth striker Kane raced clear only to shoot tamely at the advancing keeper, ensuring a chorus of boos rang around the stadium at full-time.