Match ends, Ross County 1, Kilmarnock 0.
Ross County 1-0 Kilmarnock: Lee Erwin nets late winner in Dingwall
Lee Erwin's dramatic late winner against Kilmarnock gave Ross County back-to-back wins for only the second time in the Scottish Premiership this season.
Erwin pounced with practically the last kick in Dingwall to make it two defeats in a row for Angelo Alessio's side.
The match seemed destined to be the second goalless league draw between the two sides this season.
But County dug out a winner at the Global Energy Stadium through Erwin.
The home side's win did not come without a cost though, with veteran midfielder Michael Gardyne hobbling off with an early injury.
Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell's side move up to seventh in the Premiership, leapfrogging Livingston.
Despite Kilmarnock going four games now without a win, they remain in fifth.
Belief returns to Dingwall
County have started "believing" again said co-manager Ferguson 10 days ago after they ended a nine-game run without a win by beating Hibernian.
That confidence contributed to a game where they dominated in Dingwall, but were so often haunted by the same issues that have plagued their season; enjoying the lion's share of possession without really looking all that convincing in front of goal.
Their hopes were hit when Gardyne limped off after just nine minutes, but they soon took the game to their visitors. Brian Graham had a header pushed away on the line while Ross Stewart went close to adding to his seven Premiership goals this season when he was crowded out yards from goal.
Josh Mullin sent a glut of free-kicks and corners into the box, but all too often the deliveries failed to find a dark blue shirt. But when he raced down the right hand side and picked out Stewart at the back post, only the intervention of Dario Del Fabro denied the Ross County man a fourth goal in three games.
Kilmarnock, after an encouraging run under Italian boss Alessio, were looking for a much needed pick-me-up after a 3-0 humbling from Livingston.
Del Fabro could have given them an early lead when a cross bypassed him at the back post, while Eamonn Brophy fizzed a shot over the bar as half-time approached.
And in a promising spell in the second half, two huge chances fell their way. Connor Johnson headed over from close range, before Scotland striker Brophy unleashed a stinging low shot which on-loan Chelsea goalkeeper Nathan Baxter did well to block.
But as the minutes ticked away Ross County were camped in the Kilmarnock half. Liam Fontaine had a shot turned over the bar, then from the resulting corner Mullin put his shot just wide of the far post.
Just as a point apiece seemed likely, Erwin held off a defender and cracked a shot off the bar, then sprang to his feet to reach the rebound to tap the ball past the grounded Laurentiu Branescu to spark wild celebrations.
Man of the match - Lee Erwin
BBC Scotland's Amy MacBeath at the Global Energy Stadium
Erwin has been an inconsistent feature in the County attack in recent weeks, with Stewart in fine scoring form he's had to be patient. The 25-year-old, who joined after a spell with Iranian side Tractor, injected fresh pace and threat into a game already full of goalscoring promise.
He had beautiful curling effort that whistled past the post. The in the final moments he kept his cool in frantic surroundings to tuck away his chance and give the hosts all three points.
'We have to pay attention' - post-match reaction
Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell: "You're obviously on a high, winning a game in that manner. But if you take the whole 90 minutes I thought we were excellent. We dominated a large part of it.
"A couple of weeks ago everybody was criticising us and criticising the form we were on, and maybe rightly so, but on that note it was good to get a clean sheet because there's been a few critics of how we've defended as a team. I thought the defensive unit was watertight today."
Kilmarnock manager Angelo Alessio: "I think it was a good performance from my team. Of course I'm disappointed because we conceded the goal at the end of the game. It's football, we have to pay attention. We made a mistake in this situation and we lost the game.
"I think it was a good reaction after the last game [3-0 defeat to Livingston]. We deserved one point."
- 24PatonBooked at 71mins
- 16SpenceSubstituted forHendersonat 73'minutes
- 7GardyneSubstituted forMckayat 9'minutesBooked at 55mins
- 19GrahamSubstituted forErwinat 64'minutes
- 27StewartBooked at 44mins
- 26Del Fabro
- 6PowerBooked at 32mins
- 7McKenzieSubstituted forEl Makriniat 84'minutes
- 11MillarSubstituted forThomasat 87'minutes
- 15El Makrini
- Alan Muir
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Ross County 1, Kilmarnock 0.
Goal! Ross County 1, Kilmarnock 0. Lee Erwin (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.
Lee Erwin (Ross County) hits the bar with a left footed shot from outside the box.
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Dario Del Fabro.
Attempt missed. Dario Del Fabro (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left following a corner.
Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Ross Stewart.
Foul by Ross Stewart (Ross County).
Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Kilmarnock. Dom Thomas replaces Liam Millar.
Substitution, Kilmarnock. Mohamed El Makrini replaces Rory McKenzie.
Attempt missed. Josh Mullin (Ross County) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses the top left corner.
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Laurentiu Branescu.
Attempt saved. Liam Fontaine (Ross County) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Harrison Paton (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock).
Attempt missed. Josh Mullin (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Attempt missed. Lee Erwin (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner.
Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Nathan Baxter.
Attempt saved. Eamonn Brophy (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Hand ball by Ewan Henderson (Ross County).
Substitution, Ross County. Ewan Henderson replaces Lewis Spence.
Attempt missed. Connor Johnson (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is too high.
Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Sean Kelly.
Foul by Liam Fontaine (Ross County).
Eamonn Brophy (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Harrison Paton (Ross County) is shown the yellow card.
Lewis Spence (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Niko Hämäläinen (Kilmarnock).
Substitution, Ross County. Lee Erwin replaces Brian Graham.
Brian Graham (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Connor Johnson (Kilmarnock).
Callum Morris (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Eamonn Brophy (Kilmarnock).
Liam Fontaine (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Stephen O'Donnell (Kilmarnock).
Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Liam Fontaine.
Attempt blocked. Niko Hämäläinen (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Billy Mckay (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Billy Mckay (Ross County).