Match ends, Ross County 2, St Mirren 1.
Ross County eased their play-off fears as they leapfrogged St Mirren in the Scottish Premiership table.
Yoann Arquin passed up a host of first-half chances, but did head the Dingwall men into a deserved half-time lead.
John McGinn hauled the Saints back on level terms with a curling ball into the top corner in the second half.
Both managers were sent to the dugout as tempers frayed before Melvin De Leeuw won the points with a late left-foot shot into the roof of the net.
With Partick Thistle also picking up three points, the result leaves St Mirren languishing in second bottom as their poor form stretches to five league games without a win.
Gregg Wylde was first to try his luck with a sharp break down the left hand side, but Mark Brown was equal to his effort before Kenny McLean fired a long dipping shot from distance which the goalkeeper had to tip over the bar.
In between the Saints chances, Brian McLean passed up a golden opportunity, heading straight at Marian Kello from eight yards out.
The home side slowly took control of the game, and they could have been ahead following two great chances in a minute.
First Arquin found Yann Songo'o at the back post, but the Cameroonian defender headed the ball into the ground with the goal gaping. Then Jordan Slew raced down the right hand side, and although his shot was blocked it almost looped over the goalkeeper and in, before landing on the roof of the net.
Derek Adams was left incensed on the half-hour mark when Filip Kiss appeared to be elbowed by Jim Goodwin. The Ross County manager had questioned why the St Mirren captain had managed to avoid a red card in November's clash between the two clubs, and with Kiss receiving extensive treatment he was furious again.
There was no let-up in pace with Graham Carey and Kenny McLean both dragging efforts wide at both ends, but eventually the goal had to come and Arquin duly obliged when Michael Tidser picked him out in the box and he headed home.
The French striker could have made it 2-0 minutes later when Songo'o found him in space on the six yard line, but his first touch was a horrible one and he couldn't get control of the ball quick enough.
Danny Lennon's men were fortunate not to be 2-0 down early into the second-half. Once more the chance fell to Arquin and he was left with a tap-in when Kello's save from Slew spun straight to him, but his effort was weak.
With the score remaining at just 1-0 the danger was always that St Mirren would punish the home side's impotency in front of goal, and they did just that when Wylde's corner was only cleared as far as the edge of the box. McGinn latched onto it, moved the ball to his right boot, and curled it into the top corner.
Adams and Lennon had to be pulled apart on the touchline, and referee Willie Collum sent both men to the stand after Goodwin and De Leeuw clashed heads. The Ross County manager was adamant Goodwin was the man to blame and vented his fury only to be confronted by the St Mirren boss.
De Leeuw picked himself up from his head-knock to give Ross County a late winner, finishing Arquin's low inviting ball.
- 12TidserSubstituted forDe Leeuwat 75'minutes
- 25SlewSubstituted forQuinnat 86'minutes
- 23CareyBooked at 37minsSubstituted forCooperat 59'minutes
- 11De Leeuw
- 99Djemba-DjembaSubstituted forMcGowanat 45'minutes
- 6GoodwinSubstituted forMcAuslandat 85'minutes
- William Collum
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Ross County 2, St Mirren 1.
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Paul McGowan.
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Gregg Wylde.
Yoann Arquin (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Sean Kelly (St Mirren).
Richard Brittain (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Paul McGowan (St Mirren).
Attempt missed. Yoann Arquin (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Substitution, Ross County. Rocco Quinn replaces Jordan Slew.
Attempt missed. Darren McGregor (St Mirren) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is high and wide to the left.
Corner, St Mirren. Conceded by Brian McLean.
Substitution, St Mirren. Marc McAusland replaces James Goodwin because of an injury.
Goal! Ross County 2, St Mirren 1. Melvin De Leeuw (Ross County) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Yoann Arquin.
Attempt missed. Erik Cikos (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Yann Songo'o (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Paul McGowan (St Mirren).
Melvin De Leeuw (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by James Goodwin (St Mirren).
Corner, St Mirren. Conceded by Yann Songo'o.