Paul Heffernan scored twice as Kilmarnock eased to victory over Ross County at Rugby Park.

The striker, making his first start of the season after injury, touched home a free-kick on 66 minutes.

Gary Harkins then thumped in a fantastic strike from 20 yards to beat County keeper Michael Fraser, who had made a number of fine saves.

Heffernan completed the scoring with a first-time finish, steering home an astute pass from Cillian Sheridan.

After a week in which Kenny Shiels spat with referee Euan Norris and the SFA was back page news, the Kilmarnock manager will be pleased that it is his players who will grabbing the headlines after this result.

The ever-honest Shiels was still unhappy before the game with morning reports about his interaction with referees supervisor, John Fleming.

However, his mood will have changed after a game in which his side swept aside the visitors with a devastating three goals in 15 minutes spell after a fairly even first hour.

Shiels made five changes from the side that lost to Inverness Caley Thistle with youngsters McKeown, McKenzie and O'Hara, as well as Dayton and Johnson, dropping to the bench in what the manager described as a "non developmental" team designed to get Killie back on a winning run.

Paul Heffernan returned to the starting line-up for the first time in eight months alongside Gary Harkins, Jeroen Tesselaar, James Fowler and Borja Perez, with Heffernan and Harkins set to have a huge impact on proceedings.

The opening 45 minutes was full of good midfield play but little in the way of chances, although, two minutes before the interval, County's Rocco Quinn should really have done better with an opportunity which saw him take advantage of a slip in the Killie defence only to shoot wide when he should have tested Cammy Bell.

Youngster Steven Ross might also have done better with a 26th minute chance and Killie's Michael Nelson had a header cleared off the line.

However, the second half was dominated by the home side, and Michael Fraser in the visitors goal did well to save efforts from Cillian Sheridan and Heffernan before the deadlock was broken on 67 minutes.

Referee Bobby Madden awarded Killie a free-kick near the touchline and, from Perez's cross, Heffernan eluded his marker to head the ball past Fraser from eight yards for his first goal of the season.

Nine minutes later Harkins lit up the game with a terrific goal in which he ran from midfield, looked up and curled a wonderful 25-yard effort high past Fraser into the top right-hand corner of the goal.

Sheridan, who had linked superbly with Heffernan all game, then found the striker with a fine pass from midfield and the Killie star controlled the ball with his first touch and despatched it past Fraser from the edge of the box with his second eight minutes from time.

Sorry, we were unable to load match stats, please try again.