Match ends, Ross County 3, Kilmarnock 2.
Scottish Premiership: Ross County 3-2 Kilmarnock
Michael Gardyne's double edged Ross County to within a point of fourth place in a five-goal thriller.
The home side capitalised on a fast start when Craig Curran tapped home before Tope Obadeyi equalised with Kilmarnock's first effort on target.
Josh Magennis knocked home a corner straight after half-time before Gardyne took control with two fabulous finishes across Jamie Macdonald.
Defeat leaves Gary Locke's side in the relegation play-off place.
Jim McIntyre's side began with real attacking intent, creating chance after chance in the opening minutes.
Gardyne, Jonathan Franks and Liam Boyce all threatened early on, and the opener duly arrived when Jackson Irvine drove forward and picked his moment beautifully to release Gardyne in behind.
The winger measured a low ball across the six-yard box which Curran tapped home easily despite Kilmarnock goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald's efforts.
It was well worked by the home side but at this level you expect better defending.
Obadeyi was first to threaten for Kilmarnock as he kept going despite being fouled, but his shot was wide of goal.
To their credit, Kilmarnock managed to stem the tide and chances became infrequent. You began to wonder if a failure to press home that early dominance might end up costly.
It did. Obadeyi chased a ball across goal, gathered, evaded Jamie Reckord and drilled in a low shot to the astonishment of the home crowd.
If County wondered how they were only level at half-time they were immediately considering how they were behind right at the start of the second period.
A well-worked corner saw Magennis lose his marker at the front post and he touched home just inside the post.
However, McIntyre's side are nothing if not resilient as they proved in the 5-2 win over Dundee.
A superb ball from Irvine out wide released Gardyne who seemed on form all night and he drilled a low effort across Macdonald for a prompt equaliser.
Magennis was upended by Boyd giving Craig Slater a free hit, but he misjudged the bend and curl and it sailed over.
Gardyne's influence was to prove decisive as he gathered on the left again and jinked brilliantly before sending another shot across Macdonald into the far corner. It was a man of the match performance.
Irvine then drove forward again and released Boyce on the left, but his shot was weak and saved by Macdonald
Incredibly Kilmarnock should have squared it once more when Obadeyi had a header from eight yards after a wonderful ball from Magennis.
Boyce's fierce drive was well saved by Macdonald before substitute Kris Boyd headed narrowly over right at the death but County held out for a valuable win.
Kilmarnock must hope results elsewhere go in their favour having played two, or in some cases three more games than sides immediately above them with Dundee United now having the opportunity to close in with two games in hand.
- 5BoydBooked at 53mins
- 26WoodsSubstituted forMurdochat 66'minutes
- 17FranksSubstituted forQuinnat 71'minutes
- 10BoyceSubstituted forGrahamat 88'minutes
- 24De Vita
- 14O'HaraSubstituted forSymeat 59'minutes
- 22McHattieBooked at 73mins
- 23KiltieSubstituted forBoydat 70'minutes
- 39FrizzellSubstituted forCarrickat 84'minutes
- Steven McLean
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Ross County 3, Kilmarnock 2.
Stewart Murdoch (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Dale Carrick (Kilmarnock).
Attempt missed. Conrad Balatoni (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high following a corner.
Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Jackson Irvine.
Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Jackson Irvine.
Foul by Jackson Irvine (Ross County).
Steven Smith (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Hand ball by David Syme (Kilmarnock).
Substitution, Ross County. Brian Graham replaces Liam Boyce.
Substitution, Kilmarnock. Dale Carrick replaces Adam Frizzell.
Attempt saved. Liam Boyce (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Stuart Findlay.
Michael Gardyne (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by David Syme (Kilmarnock).
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Tope Obadeyi.
Jackson Irvine (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Steven Smith (Kilmarnock).
Stuart Findlay (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Craig Curran (Ross County).
Kevin McHattie (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Craig Curran (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Kevin McHattie (Kilmarnock).
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Conrad Balatoni.
Substitution, Ross County. Rocco Quinn replaces Jonathan Franks.
Substitution, Kilmarnock. Kris Boyd replaces Greg Kiltie.
Jamie Reckord (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tope Obadeyi (Kilmarnock).
Attempt saved. Andrew Davies (Ross County) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Jonathan Franks (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Stuart Findlay (Kilmarnock).
Substitution, Ross County. Stewart Murdoch replaces Martin Woods because of an injury.
Attempt missed. Tope Obadeyi (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Jamie MacDonald.
Attempt saved. Liam Boyce (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Substitution, Kilmarnock. David Syme replaces Mark O'Hara.
Attempt missed. Craig Slater (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Goal! Ross County 3, Kilmarnock 2. Michael Gardyne (Ross County) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Liam Boyce.
Foul by Martin Woods (Ross County).