Ross County lose out in crucial Premiership clash against relegation rivals St Johnstone
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Ross County 0
St Johnstone 1 (Kimpioka 35)
St Johnstone opened up daylight over Ross County in the battle to avoid relegation after a 1-0 win in Dingwall.
The Staggies had looked bright, getting into the final third only to see a lack of quality when it mattered most cost them.
The same could not be said for St Johnstone, who had fewer chances across the 90 minutes but crucially did hit the back of the net through Benjamin Kimpioka in the 35th minute to seal all three points.
Both sides missed good chances to break the deadlock in the early going.
James Brown could not beat Dimitar Mitov on a couple of occasions, while Yan Dhanda blazed over for the hosts.
Anthony Gallacher did the same at the other end in what was arguably the chance of the game to that point, having found himself through one-on-one with George Wickens only to lift the ball over both goalkeeper and crossbar.
St Johnstone took the lead in the 35th minute though, as Benjamin Kimpioka latched on to a long ball forward after Will Nightingale misjudged his interception.
The Swedish forward still had plenty of work to do, but he dropped a shoulder to cut inside Loick Ayina and on to his right foot before picking out the far corner.
County would push for an equaliser after the restart, forcing a number of saves out of Mitov.
Brown would have another effort, nearly catching the shot-stopper out at his near post, with Simon Murray volleying straight at the keeper from the edge of the box.
Ayina also got in on the act, taking aim from 25 yards out and forcing Mitov to tip the ball over his crossbar.
Try as they might, County could not find a breakthrough before time ran out, with the final whistle going as St Johnstone kept the ball by the corner flag.
Victory for the Perth Saints mean they move five points above County in the league table, albeit having played one extra match.
The crucial run of fixtures the Dingwall outfit are on, having taken one point from matches against Livingston and St Johnstone, continues on Tuesday evening when they travel to Motherwell – who now sit in 10th place after being leapfrogged by St Johnstone after today's results.
Ross County: Wickens, Harmon, Borthwick-Jackson, Ayina, Nightingale, Brown, Jenks, King, Dhanda, Murray, White.
Substitutes: Ross, Sims, Sheaf, Loturi, Henderson, Khela, Efete, Brohpy, Reid.
St Johnstone: Mitov, Gallacher, Considine, McGowan, Carey, Kucheriavyi, Robinson, Kimpioka, Keltjins, Franczak, C Smith.
Substitutes: Richards, May, Kane, Clark, Haiyesimi, Sidibehi, Olufunwa, Sprangler, K Smith.
Referee: Craig Napier
VAR: David Dickinson