ROSS COUNTY will have their Betfred Cup credentials scrutinised before the end of the week.

The early signs are good for the 2016 winners after they defeated Alloa Athletic 2-0 on Saturday, with goals from Marcus Fraser and Craig Curran.

Alloa had thrown a spanner in the works last season as County’s defence of the trophy was ended at the first hurdle but Jim McIntyre’s side can take command of Group D with wins at Montrose tomorrow and at home to Hibs on Friday.

Loading article content

“These games, coming so early, are always really difficult, as we discovered last year,” the manager pointed out.

Nicky Clark surely claimed the palyer-of-the-round tag as he gave Dunfermline a head start in Group B with four goals in the 6-0 home win over Elgin. “I suppose you could call it a flying start,” he said. “We played some good football and I was really pleased to get four goals, especially as three were from headers.

“I scored 18 last season and I’ll be looking to beat that total this time round. The manager is looking to bring more players in and we’re going to have a real push to get back into the top division. It’s a great start but we need to work hard and keep it going.”

In the other match in a group that also includes Hearts, Rory McAllister’s goal was enough to give Peterhead a 1-0 win over East Fife. In Group A, Falkirk eased to a 4-1 win over Stirling Albion with Nathan Austin, Joe McKee, Alex Harris and Aaron Muirhead (penalty) all on target.

Rory Loy was disappointed not to get on the scoresheet on his return to the club after spells at Dundee and St Mirren.

“You always want to score as a striker but it was good that I could contribute in other areas and it was a great first win for us,” he said. “It is good to return here as I’m 29 now and I know that I have maybe made a few wrong choices but I am here to do the best I can and help out the younger boys.

“It is great to work with the likes of Nathan Austin who has a lot of good attributes and he is looking to tidy up a few things in his game to become a top player and we also have the experience of Lee Miller to work with, who has a lot of experience at the top level.”

Inverness Caledonian Thistle also opened the group with a win as they beat Brechin City 3-0, with Garry Warren scoring twice. Dundee United beat Raith Rovers 2-0 thanks to second-half goals from Paul McMullan and James Keatings (penalty) in Group C where David Syme netted twice as Cowdenbeath held off Highland League champions Buckie Thistle 4-2.

Jim Goodwin’s Clyde enjoyed a 2-1 win over the manager’s former club Annan Athletic in Group E and Morton were gifted a 1-0 win at Berwick in Group F when Oliver Fleming turned a Michael Tidser cross into his own net.

St Mirren ovedrwhelmed Stranraer 4-1 in Group H, with Gavin Reilly, Ross Stewart, Lewis Morgan and Gregor Buchanan all netting.

In Group G, Hamilton Academical had to work hard to see off East Kilbride 3-1, with Louis Longridge and Ali Crawford scoring in the final 10 minutes, while Stephen Dobbie scored twice as Queen of the South won at Stenhousemuir by an identical score.