Ayr out as Ross County breathe sigh of relief
Ross County avoided a League Cup shock as they beat Ayr United 2-0 thanks to early goals in each half at the Global Energy Stadium.
Liam Boyce stuck in the third minute with the aid of a slight deflection and Michael Gardyne scored a second with a fine individual goal after 50 minutes.
County got off to the best possible start with a goal after just three minutes.
Jackson Irvine played the ball into the box for Boyce and his shot took a deflection off Paddy Boyle on its way into the net.
Ayr threatened for the first time in the 14th minute when Nicky Devlin got to the byline but his cross was booted away at the near post by Scott Boyd.
Alan Trouten was next up with a shot from the edge of the 18-yard box which flew over the crossbar.
At the other end a Gardyne cross was headed wide of Ayr goalkeeper Greg Fleming's right-hand post.
The visitors were forced to make a change in the 22nd minute when the injured Alan Trouten was replaced by Alan Forrest.
Ayr won a free-kick in a dangerous position in the 25th minute. Brian Gilmour's floated ball into the box found Jamie Adams whose knock-back was fired narrowly past the upright by Craig McCracken.
County's Raffaele De Vita attempted an audacious overhead kick from a Marcus Fraser delivery but he missed the ball altogether.
Then Gardyne crossed to the back post for Jamie Reckord whose cut-back was headed over by Scott Graham.
Ayr made another substitution at half-time with Jordan Preston coming on for Ross Caldwell.
But despite a promising start to the second half it was County who doubled their lead in the 50th minute. Gardyne cut in from the right and let fly with a vicious left-footed shot which flew into the top corner.
The home side were piling on the pressure and Boyce headed a Gardyne cross just wide of the near post.
De Vita forced a save from Fleming before Graham knocked the ball wide after he intercepted a slack pass back by Ross Docherty.
County kept creating the chances and substitute Tony Dingwall curled one towards the far post but Fleming made a good save.