Ross County plummet into Premiership playoff against Raith Rovers as St Johnstone pull off dramatic escape

Ross County's Eli King looks dejected -Credit:SNS Group
Ross County's Eli King looks dejected -Credit:SNS Group

Ross County will face Raith Rovers in a nerve-shredding Premiership play-off final after finishing second bottom of the pile by virtue of goal difference on a dramatic final day.

Don Cowie's men went into the game knowing that three points against Aberdeen would have been enough to avoid a second relegation play-off final appearance in a row, regardless of how St Johnstone fared against Motherwell at Fir Park. But a 2-2 draw with the Dons - coupled with the Saints 2-1 win in Lanarkshire - will now see the Staggies take on Raith in next week's two-legged affair to maintain their five year status in the top flight.

Ross County had gone in front through Simon Murray's fine half-volley with just five minutes on the clock, only for Peter Leven's in-form side to level things up going into the break thanks to a header from Ester Sokler. Jamie McGrath then completed the turnaround for the visitors after converting from Junior Hoilett's cut back five minutes after the restart. However, the game took a dramatic swing when the hosts were awarded a penalty after Angus MacDonald hauled down Jordan White. The Reds defender was shown a straight red card, with Yan Dhanda stepping up to make it 2-2.

With the Saints coming out on top at Motherwell despite the Steelmen pulled one back in injury time - the Dingwall side pushed hard for a winning goal that would see them jump back above St Johnstone and narrowly guarantee their place in the Premiership for another year. But no goal arrived, and it ended in bitter disappointment for interim boss Cowie and his players, who slumped into the relegation play-off zone due to St Johnstone's superior goal difference of -25 compared to Ross County's -29.

The Staggies will be looking to call on the dramatic penalty shootout against Partick Thistle in last season's Premiership play-off final as inspiration to ensure they are playing their football in the Premiership after the summer. The first leg of the relegation play-off final will take place on Thursday, May 23, at Stark's Park with the return fixture coming three days later on Sunday, May 26 in Dingwall.