Ross County 1-0 St Johnstone

By Charles BannermanBBC Scotland

Ross County leapfrogged Dundee United into eighth place in the SPL and are now just a point shy of the top six following a home win over St Johnstone.

Ivan Sproule made a stunning recovery from a hamstring injury to grab the only goal of the game after 11 minutes.

The visitors had the bulk of play as they searched for an equaliser, with Mehdi Abeid pulling the strings.

But the Dingwall side held firm and are now unbeaten in seven games where they have taken 17 of a possible 21 points.

The first attack came from the visitors when Abeid ran through on goal but shot straight at Mark Brown.

County wasted no time in responding and, after some good lead up work by Richard Brittain and Rocco Quinn, Sproule collected the ball at the edge of the box out on the right and lofted it into the net.

This galvanised St Johnstone into action and Rowan Vine had a shot tipped past the right-hand post by Brown, who was in action again to deal with a well hit 25-yard shot from Abeid.

At the other end Alex Cooper tested Alan Mannus with an oblique shot from the left but play swung back to the home end when Brown was again in action to deal with an effort from Liam Craig.

Sam Morrow, provided by Evangelos Oikonomou, did have a chance to extend County's advantage but a poor effort went well wide.

St Johnstone continued to press into the second half and David McCracken had a goalbound header from a corner headed clear.

Then Brown proved his worth yet again when he got a foot to a shot from Craig.

For a man only recently recovered from a hamstring injury, Sproule continued to contribute some dynamic running but couldn't convert after surging down the left.

The hopes of the home fans rose when dead-ball specialist Richard Brittain stepped up to take a 27-yard free-kick but it fizzed past the left post.

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