Inverness ended Ross County's 11-match unbeaten run to maintain their Highland derby upper-hand and leapfrog the visitors in the Premier League.

Andrew Shinnie's tap-in gave the hosts an early advantage.

But Paul Lawson's impressive curling strike levelled matters before the half-time interval.

The hosts won a penalty following Mihael Kovacevic's tackle on Charlie Taylor and Billy McKay converted to move his side up to third in the table.

Terry Butcher's men had gone into the match boasting two wins from the previous four derbies in all competitions this season, the other two encounters ending in draws.

But County were a point ahead of their rivals at kick-off.

The home side took the early initiative with top scorer McKay testing Michael Fraser with a fierce shot on the turn inside the box.

And any prospect of a repeat of the 0-0 draw between the sides earlier this month ended with the corner that followed.

Richie Foran's downward header from Taylor's delivery was blocked on the line by Fraser and Shinnie was on hand to roll the ball over the line.

Ross County midfielder Paul Lawson

Lawson's goal temporarily brought County level

Suddenly, County's unbeaten 2013 was under threat and Derek Adams' men were required to display the battling qualities which helped them come from behind to beat Celtic last week.

The visitors struggled to gain territory for much of the first half but took advantage of a set piece around 30 yards from goal.

Iain Vigurs squared for Lawson, who unleashed a swerving shot that flew past Ryan Esson's despairing dive.

There was a further blow for Inverness when Esson picked up an injury while kicking the ball forward and he was soon replaced by Antonio Reguero.

Inverness started the second period positively and Shinnie's effort spun out off a defender's head.

And, when Taylor went down in the wake of Kovacevic's sliding challenge, referee Iain Brines pointed to the spot.

Ross County were incensed by the decision and players from both sides got involved in an angry exchange in the penalty area.

When the melee had subsided, McKay calmly tucked the ball past Fraser for his 24th goal of the season.

The visitors could not rouse another comeback with Sam Morrow's header claimed by Reguero in injury time.

And though County slip to fourth, they remain a point ahead of St Johnstone.

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