Andy Barrowman capitalised on David Hutton's error to open the scoring
By Stevie Miller
Ross County won their second Challenge Cup, beating Queen of the South in a match they dominated throughout.
The men from Ross-shire opened the scoring through Andy Barrowman following a blunder by Queen of the South keeper David Hutton.
The Highlanders continued to dictate the game and doubled their lead through Iain Vigurs' low shot.
Queens were second best for the majority of the match and County comfortably held on to lift the cup.
County made a bright start, but were rewarded beyond their wildest dreams in eight mintues after an horrific error by the Queens 'keeper.
The hapless Hutton dallied on a passback allowing Barrowman to close him down, rob him and roll the ball into an empty net.
Moments later Gary Miller spun and shot after picking up a pass from Iain Vigurs on the penalty spot, but Hutton managed to block and smother.
Vigurs then flashed a shot from outside of the box just wide of Hutton's right-hand post.
Michael Gardyne crossed in from the right as County continued their stranglehold on the match, but, despite having a free header, Barrowman could only put his effort straight at Hutton.
Veteran striker Allan Johnston had the first opportunity for Queens as the first half began to draw to a close, picking up a loose clearance in the County box, but Michael McGovern parried.
Willie McLaren then whipped in a corner for Queens but Stephen McKenna's header was cleared off the line as the Dumfries side made their physicality count.
However, just as it seemed Queens could force a way back into the game, Gardyne put a low cross into the box, which Barrowman deftly flicked onto the onrushing Vigurs who slotted the ball into the corner of the net.
Ross County began the second half in the same manner as the first, with Richard Brittain's corner flicked on by Johnny Flynn and hooked off the line.
Frustration got the better of Queens midfielder McKenna as he got into a tussle with Paul Lawson which saw both players booked along with David Lilley and Barrowman.
Paul Burns carved out a chance for the Dumfries men, but Michael McGovern, who had had little to do all afternoon, pulled off a fine save.
Gardyne could have killed the game off, but his shot from an angle about eight yards out blazed over the bar.
The game was turning into a scrappy affair, with the Doonhamers becoming desperate as they redoubled their efforts to get back into the match.
However, their direct approach could not break down County's defence and the Challenge Cup headed north to Dingwall.
Ross County manager Jimmy Calderwood: "We started the game really well. I thougth we deserved it.
"In the second half Queens kept banging away and they have a very physical presence, but we handled it.
"They hammered us at Dingwall a few Weeks ago, but we've made up for that today.
"We took our chances, but we still had a few more. MichaelGardyne and Andy Barrwoman up front caused them all sorts of problems.
"It's great for the supporters. It's not about the manager. It's about the players and the supporters, and they're chuffed and it's great."
Queen of the South manager Kenny Brannigan: "They gave me everything. I'm not gong to fault their effort.
"On the day they never performed to their best, and they let themselves down.
"I don't know what the goalkeeper David Hutton was thinking. You just clear your lines. The boy's not done himself any justice today.
"I thought Ross County were the far better side on the day. We just never turned up.
"There's nothing I can say that's going to redeem them and we still have very important league games to play."
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