Ross County’s hopes of finishing in the top six suffered a setback with a 5-2 loss at Dundee this afternoon.
The odd goal in five separated the teams after an absorbing opening period.
Greg Stewart and Kane Hemmings put the hosts 2-0 up inside nine minutes before County captain Andrew Davies pulled one back.
Rory Loy restored Dundee’s two-goal lead before Alex Schalk reduced the deficit on the stroke of half time.
Dundee substitute Craig Wighton scored five minutes from time before Stewart added a fifth in injury time to ensure the hosts claimed all three points.
Liam Boyce was a surprise starter for the Staggies with the Northern Irishman expected to miss out after suffering a hand fracture on international duty, while goalkeeper Scott Fox was fit enough to start on the bench having been sidelined with a knee injury.
County made two changes from the side beaten 3-0 by Caley Thistle before the international break with Jonathan Franks and Martin Woods replacing the injured Jackson Irvine and Stewart Murdoch, who dropped to the bench.
Dundee were without goalkeeper Scott Bain after unsuccessfully appealing the red card he was shown in last month’s derby draw with Dundee United so deputy David Mitchell made his first start of the season.
The hosts created the first chance of the afternoon with Nick Ross crossing for Cammy Kerr, who headed wide.
But it didn’t take long for Dundee to make the breakthrough.
Stewart was afforded too much space to surge through the heart of the County midfield before sidestepping Paul Quinn and firing the ball underneath Woods.
And, with only nine minutes on the clock, Dundee added a second when Kevin Holt crossed for Hemmings to apply the finishing touch.
County were reeling but they mustered an immediate response with a well-worked set-piece.
Woods’ corner allowed County captain Davies to take advantage of a static Dundee defence with his downward header leaving Mitchell with no chance.
The Staggies should have been level two minutes later when Michael Gardyne picked out Woods with an exquisite cross but Woods volleyed just over.
County were looking much more potent in attack but it was Dundee who grabbed the crucial next goal when Hemmings attempt at goal was nodded past Woods by Loy for his eighth goal.
But again the Staggies managed to get back in the game with Schalk latching onto a Boyce pass showing a neat piece of trickery to evade Thomas Konrad before unleashing a right-footed effort which Mitchell got a hand to but couldn’t prevent finding the back of the net.
County had a great chance to draw level six minutes after the restart when Boyce laid the ball into the path of Gardyne but the former Dundee United player blasted over.
The game roared on at a frenzied pace with Ian McShane preventing the Staggies falling further behind by heading a Hemmings header off the line.
Dundee were inches away from netting a fourth with 15 minutes remaining when a Hemmings header from a Stewart free kick trickled just wide.
But the home side put the game beyond doubt with five minutes to go when substitute Wighton slotted home after Woods parried a low drive from Stewart.
And there was still time for the Dee to add another with Stewart twisting and turning his way past defenders on the edge of the area before slotting past Woods to complete the scoring.