Ross County will be looking up the Premiership table with purpose after coming from behind to defeat Dundee.
The Staggies fell behind to Zak Rudden’s first-half opener at Dens Park, however restored parity on the stroke of half-time through Joseph Hungbo.
Although Regan Charles-Cook missed a second half penalty to put the Dingwall side ahead, the on-form winger was not to be denied as he came up with the game’s decisive goal three minutes from time.
The result keeps up County’s 100% record against James McPake’s side this season, and moves them seven points clear of the relegation zone.
Most notably however, the Staggies are now only three points behind a cluster of three sides immediately ahead of them in the table.
Malky Mackay made two changes from the side which drew 1-1 with Aberdeen on Tuesday. Blair Spittal returned from injury in place of Dominic Samuel, while Connor Randall was drafted in to replace Kayne Ramsay.
The Staggies had the edge over the Dark Blues ahead of the trip to Tayside, having won both previous encounters this term. That formed part of a run of form in which County had failed to score just once from their last 16 games.
It was Dundee who threatened first inside the opening 40 seconds, when Paul McMullan struck the bar with a powerful drive from the edge of the box after a swift breakaway. The visitors had to hold firm again moments later, when Max Anderson saw an effort deflected wide following good work down the left by Niall McGinn.
County’s first glimpse came on nine minutes when a Jake Vokins cross ricocheted off two Dundee defenders but failed to drop kindly to the feet of Jordan White as it trickled back to goalkeeper Adam Legzdins.
Regan Charles-Cook’s attacking exploits have made him the Premiership’s leading scorer, but he showed defensive qualities to make an excellent block on Dundee full back Vontae Daley-Campbell as he looked to pull the trigger in a dangerous position.
At the other end, a Blair Spittal free-kick prompted a stramash inside the box which led to the Dundee rearguard clearing off the line, as both sides searched for a breakthrough.
It was the Dark Blues who succeeded on 24 minutes. A neat move saw Jordan McGhee play in Rudden, who marked his first start with a clinical drilled finish past Ross Laidlaw.
It was a deserved breakthrough on the balance of play, and the hosts came close to doubling their advantage on 40 minutes. Rudden played in McMullan down the right flank, with his delivery picking out Anderson who sidefooted straight at Laidlaw.
County missed a fine opportunity to pull level two minutes before the break, when Spittal’s free-kick picked out Alex Iacovitti, who nodded narrowly wide.
They were not to be denied a timely leveller a minute into stoppage time though when Hungbo latched on to a Iacovitti pass from the back before rifling a powerful strike from the inside left channel, which beat Legzdins at his near post.
County made a bright start to the second half, with Charles-Cook thwarted by the legs of Legzdins after cutting in from the right.
The Staggies were handed a glorious chance to take the lead on 58 minutes however, when Connor Randall saw his cross blocked by the arm of Cammy Kerr. Charles-Cook stepped up in pursuit of his 11th goal of the season, but saw his poor spot-kick comfortably gathered at the second attempt by Legzdins.
Charles-Cook atoned for his missed spot-kick nine minutes from time however. The goal stemmed from a slip-up in the Dundee defence which was quickly pounced upon by White, whose delightful through ball was met by Charles-Cook to thump high past Legzdins.
County needed Laidlaw to be on his toes to keep the Staggies ahead, with the goalkeeper producing an excellent block from Danny Mullen’s effort following a McMullan delivery.
DUNDEE (4-3-3) – Legzdins 6; Daley-Campbell 7, Sweeney 6, Fontaine 6, Kerr 6; Anderson 6 (McCowan 64), McGhee 6, Byrne 6; McMullan 7, Rudden 6 (Mullen 74), McGinn 6 (Adam 78). Subs not used – Lawlor, McDaid, Chapman, Mulligan, Elliott, Robertson.
ROSS COUNTY (4-3-3) – Laidlaw 7; Randall 8, Watson 6, Iacovitti 7, Vokins 6; Spittal 6 (H Paton 81), Tillson 6, Callachan 6; Hungbo 7 (D Samuel 74), White 7, Charles-Cook 7 (Drysdale 88). Subs not used – Maynard-Brewer, A Samuel, Ramsay, B Paton, Wright, Mackinnon.
Referee – Don Robertson 6
Attendance – 4,621
Man of the match: Connor Randall