AN unfortunate Paul Quinn own goal saw Ross County crash to a 1-0 defeat against Aberdeen at Victoria Park last night.
The Staggies defended well against a dominant Dons side, for whom ex-Caley Thistle man Jonny Hayes shone.
A victory for Jim McIntyre’s men would have lifted them off the foot of the table at the expense of managerless Motherwell, and the ex-Queen of the South boss made one change from his starting 11 from the 2-2 draw at St Mirren two Saturdays ago.
Martin Woods came in for his first start in place of Richard Brittain, who’s due to undergo surgery on a foot injury.
Derek McInnes’ men started the night in seventh place, but still just six points adrift of pacesetters Dundee United.
He named an unchanged side from the one which defeated Hamilton 1-0 at Pittodrie last Wednesday.
The Dons enjoyed the best moments of a drab first half with Adam Rooney going close on a couple of occasions, notably in the ninth minute when Mark Brown pulled off a fine save at his near post from a headed effort.
Brown also saved well from an Ash Taylor header in the 21st minute, who’d been picked out by Niall McGinn.
Michael Gardyne had a volleyed snapshot sail over for the Staggies from 25 yards after half an hour on a rare surge forward, but the sides went in all square at the break.
The Dons came out the sharper in the second period, with Hayes giving Lewis Toshney a torrid time down the County right, and it wasn’t long before the dedlock was broken.
Scott Boyd made a sloppy pass which was picked up by Shay Logan who fed Niall McGinn down the Aberdeen right.
The Irishman delivered a menacing low cross which Quinn diverted into his own net from five yards out as Rooney waited to pounce.
McIntyre reacted by sending on Jake Jervis and Joe Cardle for Martin Woods and Gardyne as he looked to find a way back into the game for his side.
But relentless Aberdeen pressure continued, with Andrew Considine going close with a header and Peter Pawlett striking the bar after cleverly making space for a shot.
Liam Boyce was then introduced for Yoann Arquin, and he almost had an immediate impact when Graham Carey’s piledriver was palmed out to him by Scott Brown in the Aberdeen goal, but the Irish striker fired over from close range.
Willo Flood and Hayes had further chances to seal victory for the visitors but one proved enough in the end to secure a first win in Dingwall for the Dons, and leave County rock bottom.
Ross County: Brown, Toshney, P Quinn, Boyd, Barr, Gardyne, Irvine, Kiss, Carey, Woods, Arquin. Subs: Reguero (GK), Cardle, Jervis, Reckord, Boyce, Frempah, Dingwall.
Aberdeen: Brown (GK), Taylor, Logan, Reynolds, Considine, Jack, Flood, McGinn, Pawlett, Rooney, Hayes. Subs: Langfield (GK), Monakana, Smith Robson, Goodwillie, Shankland, McKenna.
Referee: Willie Collum