St Johnstone secured their first away league win of the season and Benji Kimpioka his first goal in a crucial victory over Ross County.
The former Sunderland man came up with a magnificent finish on 34 minutes and then the Perth side saw the game out with a battling second half performance in the Dingwall wind and rain.
The result means Saints have now opened up a five-point gap on their opponents and an 11-point one on bottom side, Livingston.
Regular starters Liam Gordon, Dan Phillips and Matt Smith all dropped out of the team and one of the three men to come in, Tony Gallacher, should have put Saints in front after 19 minutes.
A superb Graham Carey pass split the County defence open but after the wing-back’s first touch took him into space he couldn’t keep his right foot shot on target.
Yan Dhanda fired over the bar from a tight angle just before the half-hour mark and then just after it the visitors took the lead.
Carey played a ball down the touchline for Kimpioka to chase and when Cameron Borthwick-Jackson came across to try and shut him down, the Swedish forward squared him up and curled a right foot shot into the far corner.
Had Fran Franczak played him in on a counter-attack rather than hold on to the ball for too long and then shoot, Kimpioka would have had a good chance of grabbing his second of the afternoon.
County finished the first half strongly but Dimitar Mitov dealt well with a dangerous Jordan White cross and shots from James Brown and Teddy Jenks.
They started the second half strongly as well, with the Saints goal leading a charmed life at times.
Simon Murray played a ball across the face of goal and it was a minor miracle that White didn’t get on the end of it.
After that, though, Saints managed the game expertly and Mitov barely had a save to make.
Saints’ star man – Benji Kimpioka
The three centre-halves were excellent, as was Graham Carey, but the quality of Kimpioka’s first goal was the difference between two evenly-matched teams in a match of huge importance.
Mitov 7, Gallacher 6.5 (K Smith, 90), Considine 7, McGowan 7.5, Carey 7.5, Kucheriavyi 6.5, Robinson 7, Kimpioka 8 (Clark, 59), Keltjens 6 (Olufunwa, 45), Franczak 6.5 (Sidibeh, 59), C Smith 7. Subs not used – Richards, May, Kane, Jaiyesimi, Sprangler.