Match ends, Ross County 2, Kilmarnock 1.
Ross County made it five wins in six unbeaten games to move three points clear of the relegation play-off place.
Michael Gardyne latched on to Liam Boyce's flick before smashing the opener past a stranded Craig Samson.
Gardyne turned provider after the interval when he set up Craig Curran to confidently side-foot home.
Kilmarnock rallied late on with Lee Ashcroft nodding home minutes after Greg Kiltie had struck the base of the post but County held firm.
The visitors arrived in Dingwall unbeaten in seven games but created very little until the closing stages against the rejuvenated Highlanders.
The in-form hosts played well in the first period but the final ball perhaps let them down.
That changed when Boyce showed strength to hold off Manuel Pascali before nodding into the path of Gardyne on the right.
The midfielder, who spent last season on loan at Rugby Park, arrived at pace but was composed as he struck the ball high across Samson into the corner.
County controlled things but did not test Samson as often as they might have given the possession they enjoyed.
Killie boss Gary Locke clearly left his side in no doubt that their first-half display was not adequate, his team back out on the pitch a few minutes before the re-start.
But it was County who were the more fired up as they completely took a grip on proceedings.
Paul Quinn volleyed over from Martin Woods' corner when he should have netted from close range.
Rafa De Vita, Boyce, Curran and Gardyne all went close with a combination of good goalkeeping and slack finishing frustrating them.
Curran has been an important figure in County's revival since his arrival from Nuneaton in January and proved so once again.
Gardyne picked up on the right and fired across goal. Curran stole into the six yard box and calmly guided the ball home.
The home side should have been out of sight with Jackson Irvine's header was tipped over by the busy Samson.
Daryl Westlake then nodded Curran's header off the line, with Kilmarnock apparently wilting under the relentless pressure.
However, the Ayrshire side suddenly sprung into life and Kiltie's curling effort across goal struck the post, with the ball eventually falling to Lee Miller who fired narrowly wide.
Pascali then came within inches of netting as the defender's shot across goal marginally evaded the far post.
The home fans' comfort was significantly disturbed when Paul Cairney floated in a free kick for the stooping Ashcroft to find the bottom corner from six yards.
County really should have been out of sight given the chances they created but they saw the match out and claimed another vital win.
- 5BoydBooked at 41mins
- 40GardyneSubstituted forCareyat 74'minutes
- 24De Vita
- 11CurranSubstituted forPalazuelosat 86'minutes
- 16BoyceBooked at 54minsSubstituted forJervisat 65'minutes
- 26O'HaraSubstituted forKiltieat 75'minutes
- 29PascaliBooked at 90mins
- 14EcclestonSubstituted forMillerat 63'minutes
- 19SlaterBooked at 76mins
- 16ObadeyiSubstituted forCairneyat 63'minutes
- Bobby Madden
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Ross County 2, Kilmarnock 1.
Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card.
Jake Jervis (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock).
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Craig Samson.
Attempt saved. Raffaele De Vita (Ross County) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Jackson Irvine (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Paul Cairney (Kilmarnock).
Foul by Jake Jervis (Ross County).
Lee Ashcroft (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Ross County 2, Kilmarnock 1. Lee Ashcroft (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Paul Cairney following a set piece situation.
Hand ball by Filip Kiss (Ross County).
Substitution, Ross County. Ruben Palazuelos replaces Craig Curran.
Attempt blocked. Chris Johnston (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Foul by Craig Curran (Ross County).
Lee Ashcroft (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Chris Johnston (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left.
Attempt missed. Lee Miller (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.