Kris Boyd hit the winner for Kilmarnock as the Ayrshire side picked up their first Scottish Premiership away win of the season.
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With both teams toiling towards the bottom of the table, the three points lifted Kilmarnock above hosts Ross County. Chris Johnston and Boyd netted to counter a reply from Stuart Kettlewell.
Kilmarnock took the lead in the seventh minute when Boyd's delivery across the face of goal fell to Johnston at the back post and he smashed the ball low into the far corner of the net.
The visitors grew in confidence from the goal and Boyd got on the end of a diagonal ball from Sean Clohessy but his header was straight at Mark Brown.
At the other end Mihael Kovacevic played a neat one-two with Melvin De Leeuw on the right but the move broke down when the full-back gave the ball away.
The home side were coming more into the match and Kevin Luckassen dispossessed Lee Ashcroft just outside the 18-yard box, but when the ball dropped for De Leeuw his shot was well wide of Craig Samson's left-hand post.
Play was flowing from end to end and Johnston was not far away with a low drive which drifted a couple of feet wide of the upright.
County threatened again when another De Leeuw effort was blocked in front of goal.
But the best move of the first half produced an equaliser. De Leeuw played a magnificent ball across the park to Carey who squared it for Kovacevic. His shot was blocked but Kettlewell was on hand to drill the rebound into the net.
Three minutes from the break Kilmarnock restored their lead when Boyd pounced on a wayward header from Branislav Micic and neatly lobbed Brown from the edge of the area.
Kilmarnock were unlucky not to stretch their lead at the start of the second half when Rory McKeown whipped the ball into the box and Boyd fired a shot off the underside of the crossbar before the danger was cleared.
Then Michael Gardyne tried his luck when he latched onto a Boyd lay-off but his left-footed shot flew wide of Brown's left post.
The visitors had the bit between the teeth and Johnston, who was proving a handful for the County defence, squirmed his way into the box but Marc Klok put in a timely tackle just as the Kilmarnock player was about to pull the trigger.
County made a double substitution in a bid to get back into the match with Gary Glen and Steven Ross replacing Micic and Luckassen.
The play was mostly dominated by County but in a breakaway move Craig Slater forced a point-blank save from Brown.
Then a lung-bursting run from substitute Rory McKenzie set up Boyd with a chance but his effort cracked off Brown's left post.