Ross County may have only had one effort on goal at Easter Road but it was enough to sink faltering Hibernian in a dismal match.
On 57 minutes Richard Brittain got on the end of an Iain Vigurs cross and the County skipper's header from 12 yards left keeper Ben Williams floundering.
Strikers Eoin Doyle and Leigh Griffiths missed good headed opportunities as the home side responded.
And former Hibs keeper Mark Brown had to push away a shot from Jorge Claros.
The home side ended the match camped around the visitors' penalty area but County held on for their first win in eight games as they remain unbeaten against Hibs.
Hibs welcomed back defenders James McPake and Tim Clancy, with Alan Maybury missing with a bug and Lewis Stephenson dropping to the bench.
County boss Derek Adams recalled former Hearts striker Gary Glen to his starting eleven, with Colin McMenamin joining the substitutes.
It was a poor start to the game with hard fought tackles in midfield but little created by either side.
Clancy was the first player to have a shot at goal but from 30 yards out his effort ended up in the empty top tier of the South Stand.
Hibs finally forced a succession of corners and captain James McPake came close when he headed narrowly past Brown's right post.
Pat Fenlon's men also failed to take advantage of a free kick on the edge of the penalty box with David Wotherspoon playing in Paul Cairney for the former Partick Thistle midfielder to slice his effort well wide of the target.
Within a minute of the second half Ross County were forced into making a change.
Stuart Kettlewell was about to cross the ball when he crumpled to the ground holding the back of his right leg. Paul Lawson came on as a replacement.
The deadlock was broken on County's first attack of note.
Vigurs swung a cross in from the left and Brittain sent a glancing header beyond Williams and into the corner of the net.
The goal brought the spark the game badly needed and some meaty challenges followed as tempers frayed in the home ranks, with McPake, Cairney and Clancy all finding their way into the notebook of referee John Beaton in quick succession.
Doyle headed over from a good Ryan McGivern delivery before a fierce shot from Claros was pushed away by Brown, who was the first-choice keeper at Easter Road at the end of the last season.
Doyle did find the back of the net for Hibs after Brown spilled a Griffiths shot from 22 yards but a linesman's flag was raised for offside.
Griffiths then headed another good McGivern cross straight into the arms of Brown.
Hibs won a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area in the final minute but Griffiths' effort summed up an off-day for Hibs as he thundered the ball against the defensive wall.
County's win lifts them nine points ahead of bottom club Dundee, who host Celtic in the Boxing Day evening kick-off, while Hibs remain fourth in Scottish Premier League despite picking up mere four points from their last seven outings.