Ross County get back on track with victory over struggling Kilmarnock
Goals from Alex Schalk and substitute Brian Graham gave Ross County a 2-0 Ladbrokes Premiership win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park to keep the home side in relegation trouble.
Schalk headed in a Michael Gardyne cross after eight minutes with the visitors seeing out the rest of the game in a degree of comfort before Graham, on for David Goodwillie, added a second in the last minute.
While the Highlanders got back on track after losing 3-0 at home to bottom side Dundee United at the weekend to move into fourth place, Killie manager Lee Clark is still looking for his first win since taking over last month and his side remain eight points ahead of the Tannadice outfit but have now played two games more.
And by the sound of the home supporters when the final whistle sounded, they do not have a lot of hope in their side.
Before kick-off there was a minute's applause for former Kilmarnock player Jim McFadzean who recently passed away.
Killie made the early running with Northern Ireland striker Josh Magennis causing problems for the visitors with his pace and power.
In the sixth minute he raced to the bye-line before setting up Greg Kiltie with a cut-back only to see the on-rushing midfielder knock it over the bar from close range.
County proved more lethal in their first real attack two minutes later.
Gardyne's pinpoint cross from the left was met by Schalk and under no pressure he glanced a header past Killie keeper Jamie MacDonald and in off the far post.
The Rugby Park defence looked nervy and a low drive on the turn by Schalk from 16 yards had MacDonald diving down to his right-hand post to pull off a fine one-handed save.
Midfielder Kallum Higginbotham replaced the injured Tope Obadeyi on the half-hour mark by which time Killie, despite increasing the tempo, were no further forward in their attempts to level.
Midfielder Gary Dicker did have the ball in the net but referee Stephen Finnie ruled it out for a foul on Staggies keeper Gary Woods by Rory McKenzie, to no great protest.
Woods made a decent save from McKenzie' curling 25-yard effort in the 49th minute as the Ayrshire men dominated the start of the second half.
County were playing on the break but not too often and on the hour mark Staggies boss Jim McIntyre replaced Schalk with Liam Boyce, looking for a boost in attack.
The home supporters became increasingly agitated as the second half unfolded and more corners were wasted by poor delivery.
Dale Carrick came on for McKenzie in the 70th minute and then Mark O'Hara replaced Julien Faubert, and in between those substitutions Graham replaced Goodwillie for the visitors.
County remained assured in defence while doing little at the other end but in the 77th minute Boyce met Graham's cross from the left and headed the ball off the outside of the post and behind.
In the final minute of nornal time Graham made it 2-0 when he lobbed over MacDonald following a long punt by Woods, to the groans of the Killie faithful.