St Johnstone couldn’t quite make it four league wins on the road in a row.
But this draw in Dingwall continued their fine away form and took the Perth side back into the top six of the Premiership.
Denny Johnstone gave them a 90-second lead and it took a controversial penalty to deny Tommy Wright’s men all three points but, with Ross County laying siege to the Saints goal at times, the point was a decent one.
There were three changes to the team that started against Hearts on Saturday, with David Wotherspoon, Michael O’Halloran and Steven MacLean coming in for Blair Alston, Stefan Scougall and Paul Paton.
The snow had been falling before this game but Saints certainly weren’t caught cold and they went ahead with the first real attack of the game.
The ball was crossed into the danger area from the left wing by Liam Craig and the County marking on Johnstone was shocking. The big striker will have more convincing finishes in his career but he did enough to get the ball past keeper Scott Fox.
For a bottom of the league team short on confidence, this start was the last thing the hosts needed.
After a few minutes of being pinned in their own half they did eventually manage to force a corner at the other end. And they came close to scoring from it.
Chris Eagles delivered the ball to the back post where Andrew Davies jumped highest and got his header on target. There wasn’t enough power in it to beat Zander Clark, however.
There was a flowing Saints move midway through the half that started with excellent skill from Johnstone on the half-way line and eventually ended up with a shooting chance created for Chris Millar on the 18-yard line. The veteran midfielder has never been known for his finishing, though, and perhaps unsurprisingly his effort ended up in the stand behind the goal.
On the half-hour Michael Gardyne’s looping header appeared to have Clark worried but as the keeper back-pedalled the ball dropped onto the top of the net rather than underneath the bar.
Saints were in a bit of trouble when Schalk drove forward through the middle and Richard Foster made the decision to come inside to help his centre-backs. That left space for a ball wide to Eagles and had the former Manchester United been able to pick out a team-mate in the box it could well have been 1-1.
On 39 minutes Millar conceded a free-kick in a dangerous position but Eagles struck his effort straight at the defensive wall.
The half nearly ended how it had begun – with a goal fort Saints and Johnstone. Foster crossed from the right and the former Morton man made the wrong call in trying to chest it down rather than heading.
County made a half-time substitution, with Jamie Lindsay replacing Davies.
Saints had the ball in the net five minutes after the re-start but Steven MacLean’s close-range finish from a Michael O’Halloran cross was chalked off for offside.
The scores were level on 54 minutes and it was a controversial equaliser. There was no denying that Millar brought down Eagles but referee Greg Aitken’s decision that the foul was inside the box rather than outside enraged the Perth players who pointed to the mark in the turf where Millar had gone to ground.
Schalk scored the penalty
Saints should have been back in front four minutes later but a heavy first touch from Johnstone allowed Fox the opportunity to close him down and block his shot.
Neither team was settling for a draw and when Schalk drilled a low ball across goal, Gardyne was inches away from connecting.
On 75 minutes Saints somehow escaped without conceding. They had Clark to thank for a couple of top class saves, the woodwork for denying Schalk and substitute Billy McKay for missing a couple of sitters.
The play was pretty much all at the Saints end at this point and Clark could only watch on as Davis Keillor-Dunn curled a shot for the top corner that just drifted over.
There were a couple of occasions when the visitors carried a late threat – one of them when Joe Shaughnessy was penalised for a foul in the six yard box as he attempted to find a headed winner.
With three minutes left Clark was called into action again – saving low to his left from Keillor-Dunn. Then at the other end a Craig free-kick wasn’t far off target.
Ross County – Fox, Fraser, Naismith, Routis, Gardyne, Chow, Schalk, Curran (McKay 72), Davies (Lindsay 45), Van der Weg, Eagles (Keillor-Dunn 60). Subs not used – McCarey, Dow, Mikkelsen, O’Brien.
St Johnstone – Clark, Tanser, Shaughnessy, Anderson, Millar, MacLean, Wotherspoon (Alston 83), O’Halloran, Johnstone (Cummins 71), Foster, Craig. Subs not used – Mannus, McClean, Scougall, Gordon, Easton.
Referee – Greg Aitken.
Attendance – 3,636.