Malky Mackay refused to make a big issue of Ross County’s disallowed goal as he savoured a “terrific point” against Hearts at Tynecastle.
The Staggies fought out a 0-0 draw away to the on-form Jambos in the cinch Premiership.
The result took the visitors a point clear of sixth-placed Motherwell and ensured they remain within striking distance of fourth-placed Dundee United in the battle for Europe, with the teams who finish fourth and fifth both getting a crack at the Europa Conference League qualifiers next term.
“I’m delighted with the result because a point down at Tynecastle is a terrific point, playing against the third-best team in the country, clearly,” said manager Mackay.
“Three draws against that team this year, and going toe-to-toe with them, I’ve got to be happy with that.
“Performance-wise, we knew it was going to be a tough day but I thought in the first half we really came out well and gave as good as we got.
“We got into that final third and it was just the last pass that was letting us down. In the second half, I thought we were really brave.
“I asked them to go and press, and not allow Toby Sibbick to come out with the ball.
“If you are going to do that you’ve got to go man-for-man, which we did all over the park.
“In the last 10-15 minutes we were going to be tired, and we are. If you are trying to press to win the game as we were, we were going to give spaces to a very good team.”
Jordan White had a goal ruled out for a marginal offside call in the 34th minute and although the County striker protested that he was onside, Mackay had no problem with the officials’ decision.
“I have seen it and I think he might just be a smidgeon offside, but there isn’t much in it,” said Mackay. “I don’t have any beef about it. We’ll know next year when VAR comes in.”
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson admitted it was a frustrating afternoon for his side even though they extended their unbeaten run to 10 games.
“We huffed and puffed a wee bit,” he said. “The start of the game was 200 miles per hour, we kick it, they kick it and there was no real control.
“I thought once we got some control in the game there were opportunities to score, opportunities to make that final pass and we just weren’t quite there today.
“Ross County defended really well, they had loads of blocks around the box. Although they never created a lot of chances they had some counter-attacks.
“It’s up to us to score a goal, they’re coming to Tynecastle and I’m sure Malky will be delighted with the point with the position they’re in. We’re disappointed not to take the three. Sometimes that happens.”
Neilson took little consolation from the fact his side are still unbeaten since February.
“It’s nice to have that but we wanted to win and we didn’t do it,” he said. “There is a quietness in the dressing room.
“We had all the fans coming, paying for their tickets, it was Scott Wilson’s last day (as stadium announcer) and we wanted to get the win but we didn’t quite get it. There’s a disappointment in there.”
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