Owen Coyle got off to a winning start in the Ladbrokes Premiership as his Ross County side coasted to a 2-0 victory at Kilmarnock.
The former Burnley, Blackburn and Bolton manager was appointed on Wednesday following the surprise departure of Jim McIntyre and slotted straight into his new role with a comfortable win.
Goals from Craig Curran and Kenny van der Weg – his first for the club – were enough to secure a win against a struggling Kilmarnock side, who remain without a win and are under increasing pressure.
It was a scrappy start to the game, with both sides bereft of seemingly confidence in possession.
The hosts looked particularly vulnerable to crosses from the right, and Andrew Davies wasted a fine opportunity in the 12th minute when he found himself unmarked in the area following a free kick, but was unable to direct his header goalwards.
Jordan Jones – who has been called up to the Northern Ireland squad to face Germany and Norway – showed his promise with a fine break upfield before the ball found Adam Frizzell, but the midfielder was unable to find Lee Erwin inside the area to the frustration of the home support.
Frizzell then saw a rasping shot go narrowly over the bar with the keeper flapping, before Ross County began to gain a hold of the game with Michael Gardyne testing Jamie MacDonald before Curran opened the scoring.
The forward drifted into the box and was found by a superb Davis Keillor-Dunn cross, and planted a fine header back across goal and into the bottom corner to ramp up the pressure on Killie boss Lee McCulloch.
The hosts threatened intermittently, but went into the break two goals down as Van der Weg raced onto a loose ball and dinked the ball over the onrushing MacDonald on the slide to open up a deserved two-goal cushion for Coyle’s men.
Kris Boyd came off the bench at the break and the switch to two up front seemed to help the hosts.
The veteran could have pulled one back on the hour only to completely miss-kick from six yards as the ball bounced back off his standing leg, before header over from a corner.
The Staggies were on the back foot for much of the second half, but were rarely troubled at the back and could have furthered their lead through Jamie Lindsay and Davies.
The game drifted towards the end despite Killie’s best efforts, leaving McCulloch under growing pressure at Rugby Park.