Kilmarnock grabbed three precious Scottish Premier League points despite Ross County's dominance in Dingwall.
James Fowler curled a 20-yard shot into the net to give Killie the lead in the second minute.
The home side pressed hard for an equaliser but came up against some fine goalkeeping from Cammy Bell.
The Scotland cap denied Richard Brittain, Sam Morrow and Steffen Wohlfarth to keep his side in sixth place.
Kenny Shiels' side remain level on points with Aberdeen, who have an inferior goal difference. Fourth-place County need one more win to confirm a top-six place.
Kris Boyd made his first start since returning to Killie for a second spell but it was Bell, whose future at Rugby Park remains uncertain, who worked wonders after Fowler's early opener.
There were just 100 seconds on the clock when Rory McKenzie set up the experienced midfielder to send a wonderful strike into the top right-hand corner.
The home side began to dominate and Morrow set up Brittain, but his effort flew past the right-hand angle of the woodwork.
County fans were on their feet when they thought Iain Vigurs had equalised, but the side netting bulged in the wrong direction.
By now Bell was making his presence felt with Brittain, Morrow and Grant Munro among those left frustrated.
Kilmarnock suffered a blow when James Dayton was stretchered off following a clash with Mihael Kovacevic.
Brittain threatened again in first-half injury time but defender Mark O'Hara saved his side with an excellent block.
The second half was just as busy but produced fewer chances.
However, Morrow hit the left post from Martin Scott's through ball.
At the other end Michael Fraser saved an effort from Boyd, who played a spirited and enthusiastic 76 minutes before being replaced by Borja Perez.
Another Killie substitute, Cillian Sheridan, could not keep his effort down as the visitors chased a second goal.
Bell cut out an effort from Morrow who had picked up a clever back-heel from Brittain.
And the keeper capped a fine performance in stoppage time with another superb save from a Wohlfarth header.
- 01 Fraser
- 04 Munro
- 05 Boyd
- 18 Ikonomou
- 22 Kovacevic Booked
- 08 Lawson (Glen - 72' )
- 10 Brittain
- 11 Vigurs (Wohlfarth - 58' )
- 12 Quinn
- 14 Scott (Ross - 72' )
- 17 Morrow
- 28 McCarthy
- 13 Hainault
- 23 Macphee
- 21 Cooper
- 24 Ross
- 15 Wohlfarth
- 20 Glen
- 01 Bell
- 02 Tesselaar
- 04 Fowler
- 25 Barbour (O'Leary - 89' )
- 38 O'Hara
- 88 Sissoko
- 08 Clingan
- 10 Dayton Booked (Sheridan - 45' )
- 09 Gross
- 11 Boyd (Perez - 77' )
- 24 McKenzie
- 17 Letheren
- 03 Hay
- 05 O'Leary
- 19 Ibrahim
- 31 Davidson
- 12 Sheridan
- 15 Perez