Billy McKay settled a fiercely contested Highland derby with a late winner as Inverness pushed Ross County closer to the relegation play-offs.

Aaron Doran hit a stunning opener just before half-time, however Filip Kiss's deflected shot from close range cancelled it out.

Both sides had penalty shouts turned down, while Yann Songo'o also had a goal ruled out for the Dingwall side.

The winner came when Doran found McKay, who scored at the second attempt.

It gave Inverness their second victory in Dingwall inside six weeks, and moves John Hughes' men within two points of fourth-placed Dundee United as the Scottish Premiership reaches the split.

For County, the defeat means they have won just once in their last seven and leaves them just three points ahead of 11th-placed St Mirren as they bid to avoid the end of season relegation play-off.

Under the Friday night floodlights the game took a while to ignite, with both sides creating half-chances without looking like opening the scoring.

Marley Watkins headed weakly at goalkeeper Mark Brown before, at the other end, efforts from Richard Brittain and Melvin De Leeuw went wide for County.

Filip Kiss' deflected shot pulled Ross County level just after half-time

Kiss' deflected shot pulled Ross County level just after half-time

McKay then broke through and drilled in a low shot which Brown managed to get his boot to in order to deflect wide.

The derby began to heat up and Graham Carey beat Graeme Shinnie on the right to fire on a dangerous ball which Dean Brill had to tip over the bar.

As play switched from end-to-end, Watkins and Doran had goal-bound shots blocked and then County thought they had taken the lead.

Yoann Arquin rose highest to head Graham Carey's free-kick towards goal and Songo'o got the last touch to divert the ball into the net. However, the on-loan Blackburn Rovers defender was in an offside position and the assistant referee's flag cut short the celebrations.

Shinnie's left-foot shot brought out the best in Brown but the goalkeeper could do nothing to stop Doran's goal on the stroke of half-time.

The goalkeeper initially pulled off a great save to stop Greg Tansey's free-kick but McKay poked the rebound away to Doran outside the box and the winger thundered a breathtaking effort high into the net from the left-hand side.

County had been playing an unfamiliar diamond formation in the first 45 minutes, but after the break they reverted back to a more familiar set-up, and it paid instant dividends.

Their goal may not have had the same panache as Inverness's, but it was just as important.

Arquin swiped fresh air with an overhead kick, then Songo'o missed the follow up, but Kiss fired in the loose ball at the back post, with the shot taking a wicked deflection off Carl Tremarco on its way into the net.

Inverness responded almost immediately when David Raven found a yard of space on De Leeuw and tried to lob Brown, but the goalkeeper managed to nudge it over.

Kiss almost went from hero to villain when he bundled over Watkins inside the box. Fortunately for the Slovak, the referee waved away the penalty claims.

There was confusion at the other end when County felt they should have been awarded a penalty.

Shinnie's high boot caught the head of Kiss in the area but Inverness were originally awarded a free-kick before the assistant referee intervened. Shinnie was then yellow carded but, instead of being awarded a penalty, County were given a free-kick.

Shinnie and Tansey put efforts past Brown's right-hand post and Boyd could maybe have done better when Carey's free-kick found him in the middle.

The game was there to be won and it was McKay with his 22nd goal of the season who put the visitors back in front, pouncing on Doran's chip forward and volleying in at the second attempt.

McKay was unlucky not to make it three late on with a delightful chip that bounced off the bar.

Lineup, Bookings (4) & Substitutions (3)

Ross County

  • 01 Brown
  • 02 Cikos
  • 26 Oikonomou (Slew - 87' )
  • 07 Kiss
  • 28 Songo'o
  • 05 Boyd
  • 08 Brittain
  • 12 Tidser Booked (Quinn - 82' )
  • 27 Arquin
  • 11 De Leeuw
  • 23 Carey

Substitutes

  • 03 Gordon
  • 10 Quinn
  • 15 Glen
  • 21 McLean
  • 22 Saunders
  • 25 Slew
  • 42 McCarthy

Inverness Caledonian Thistle

  • 12 Brill
  • 02 Raven
  • 18 Tremarco Booked
  • 16 Tansey
  • 05 Warren
  • 06 Meekings
  • 15 Watkins Booked
  • 04 Vincent (Christie - 69' )
  • 07 McKay
  • 10 Doran
  • 03 Shinnie Booked

Substitutes

  • 01 Esson
  • 11 Ross
  • 19 Williams
  • 20 Polworth
  • 36 Christie
  • 40 Evans
Ref: Calum Murray
Att: 4,433

Match Stats

Shots

8 18

On target

3 10

Corners

6 7

Fouls

12 12

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Ross County 1, Inverness CT 2.

90:00 +2:58 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Ross County 1, Inverness CT 2.

90:00 +2:29

Billy McKay (Inverness CT) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the right side of the box.

90:00 +1:06

Hand ball by Melvin De Leeuw (Ross County).

89:05

David Raven (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

89:05

Foul by Jordan Slew (Ross County).

88:00

Carl Tremarco (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

87:58

Foul by Filip Kiss (Ross County).

87:29

Attempt missed. Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

86:17 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Ross County. Jordan Slew replaces Evangelos Oikonomou.

85:30

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by David Raven.

84:38

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by David Raven.

83:04

Attempt missed. Melvin De Leeuw (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

82:10

Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

82:10

Foul by Richard Brittain (Ross County).

81:59 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Ross County. Rocco Quinn replaces Michael Tidser.

80:27

Foul by Ryan Christie (Inverness CT).

80:27

Graham Carey (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

79:40

Attempt missed. Filip Kiss (Ross County) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

78:32 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Ross County 1, Inverness CT 2. Billy McKay (Inverness CT) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner.

76:24

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Josh Meekings.

75:35

Attempt missed. Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

73:46

Attempt missed. Scott Boyd (Ross County) header from the centre of the box misses to the left.

73:00

Foul by David Raven (Inverness CT).

73:00

Evangelos Oikonomou (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

71:28

Attempt missed. Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.

70:37 Booking

Booking Michael Tidser (Ross County) is shown the yellow card.

70:23

Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

70:23

Foul by Michael Tidser (Ross County).

69:49

Attempt missed. Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

69:15

Attempt saved. Billy McKay (Inverness CT) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

68:35 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Inverness CT. Ryan Christie replaces James Vincent.

66:01

Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

66:01

Foul by Erik Cikos (Ross County).

64:46 Booking

Booking Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) is shown the yellow card.

64:31

Foul by Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT).

64:31

Melvin De Leeuw (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

63:54

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Dean Brill.

63:22

Attempt saved. Graham Carey (Ross County) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

62:20

Josh Meekings (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

62:20

Foul by Melvin De Leeuw (Ross County).

61:56

Attempt missed. Billy McKay (Inverness CT) header from the centre of the box is too high.

60:50

Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

60:50

Foul by Filip Kiss (Ross County).

60:00

Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

59:50

Foul by Michael Tidser (Ross County).

58:21

Attempt missed. Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is too high from a direct free kick.

57:28

Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

57:28

Foul by Filip Kiss (Ross County).

55:54

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Erik Cikos.

52:43

Erik Cikos (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

52:43

Foul by Aaron Doran (Inverness CT).

51:37

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Mark Brown.

51:03

Attempt saved. David Raven (Inverness CT) right footed shot from long range on the right is saved in the top centre of the goal.

49:56 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Ross County 1, Inverness CT 1. Filip Kiss (Ross County) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right to the bottom right corner.

48:23

Foul by David Raven (Inverness CT).

48:23

Evangelos Oikonomou (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00

Second Half begins Ross County 0, Inverness CT 1.

45:00 +2:45 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Ross County 0, Inverness CT 1.

45:00 +1:46 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Ross County 0, Inverness CT 1. Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) right footed shot from long range on the left to the top right corner. Assisted by Billy McKay.

45:00 +0:55

Attempt saved. Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

45:00

Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

44:46

Foul by Graham Carey (Ross County).

43:53

Attempt saved. Evangelos Oikonomou (Ross County) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

42:45

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Mark Brown.

42:20

Attempt saved. Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

40:26

Foul by Evangelos Oikonomou (Ross County).

40:26

Marley Watkins (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

36:10 Booking

Booking Carl Tremarco (Inverness CT) is shown the yellow card.

36:00

Richard Brittain (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

36:00

Foul by Carl Tremarco (Inverness CT).

34:00

Yoann Arquin (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

34:00

Foul by Gary Warren (Inverness CT).

29:48

Attempt saved. James Vincent (Inverness CT) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

28:38

Erik Cikos (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

28:38

Foul by Carl Tremarco (Inverness CT).

26:39

Attempt missed. Gary Warren (Inverness CT) header from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses the top left corner.

26:24

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Evangelos Oikonomou.

25:53

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Mark Brown.

25:26

Attempt saved. Marley Watkins (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

22:28

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Gary Warren.

22:08

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Dean Brill.

16:30

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Mark Brown.

16:05

Attempt saved. Billy McKay (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

13:52

Attempt missed. Melvin De Leeuw (Ross County) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

13:14

Foul by Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT).

13:14

Michael Tidser (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

11:58

Attempt missed. Richard Brittain (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

10:58

Attempt saved. Marley Watkins (Inverness CT) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

9:52

Foul by Gary Warren (Inverness CT).

9:52

Erik Cikos (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

9:21

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Scott Boyd.

6:53

Foul by Greg Tansey (Inverness CT).

6:53

Graham Carey (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

2:57 Booking

Booking Marley Watkins (Inverness CT) is shown the yellow card.

2:49

(Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

2:49

Foul by Marley Watkins (Inverness CT).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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