Ross County suffered their heaviest defeat of the season as they went down 4-0 against Queen of the South at Palmerston.
A double from Stephen Dobbie and goals from Michael Doyle and Barry Maguire made it a miserable afternoon for the Staggies, who also had winger Josh Mullin sent off midway through the second half.
Despite suffering their second defeat on the bounce, Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson’s men remain three points clear at the top of the Championship after Ayr United fell to a 1-0 defeat against Caley Thistle.
County made three changes from the side which went down 1-0 against Morton at Cappielow the previous weekend, with new signings Kenny van der Weg and Lewis Spence in from the start along with Josh Mullin, while suspended Marcus Fraser, injured Callum Morris and Don Cowie dropped out.
The Staggies threatened in the early exchanges, with Michael Gardyne’s cross narrowly evading Ross Stewart at the far post, while Spence dragged an effort just wide from the edge of the box.
Queens began to mount pressure of their own however, with Dobbie seeing an effort from the edge of the box flash just over, before having an effort saved by Fox after latching on to a short Keith Watson pass back.
Queens did make the breakthrough on 12 minutes however, with Nicky Low’s ball over the top picking out Dobbie, who steadied himself before applying a cool low finish past Scott Fox from 12 yards.
County responded well to the early setback and twice came close to levelling, with Stewart and Spence both seeing efforts from the edge of the area drift narrowly wide.
Queens pushed for a second goal, with Dobbie showing neat skill to get past stand-in skipper Draper and into a shooting position, but Watson making a fine block to deny him.
Fox was tested again on the half hour mark, with the Staggies goalkeeper making another fine save to deny Dobbie from 25 yards following Lyndon Dykes’ lay-off.
Queens doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time to make County’s task even harder, with Dobbie this time the provider for Doyle with an excellent pass which released the defender to drill past Fox from 14 yards.
County looked for a quick response after the interval, with their closest attempt coming on 50 minutes when Gardyne’s effort from the edge of the box clipped the crossbar on its way over.
Queens virtually sealed the points on 65 minutes however, with Maguire on hand to lash past Fox from close range after Scott Mercer had squared a corner into his path.
The Staggies’ task was made even harder three minutes later, with Mullin shown a straight red card following a heavy challenge on Maguire, with County punished further when Dobbie nipped in ahead of Draper to notch his second on 77 minutes.