It is Kilmarnock who now occupy 11th place in the Premiership after goals from Filip Kiss and Richard Brittain won the day for the men from Dingwall.
Kris Boyd’s 20th goal of the season reduced the deficit late on but it is Allan Johnston’s side who are in the danger zone with three matches left.
Boyd’s early strike lacked the power to trouble County goalkeeper Mark Brown.
It was fine afternoon for football but chances were scarce in the opening quarter, the home fans finally finding their voice as referee Kevin Clancy ignored Jordan Slew’s penalty appeal when he had appeared to be impeded by Jackson Irvine.
County were then forced into a change, with Michael Tidser picking up a knock and Stuart Kettlewell coming on in his stead.
A Kiss (41) wonder strike put County in front, a curling effort from distance that flew past Craig Samson into the bottom corner.
Slew’s shot was deflected behind before Ross Barbour clipped a great ball over the top for William Gros but the latter’s control let him down with the goal beckoning.
Melvin De Leeuw fired straight at Samson before Manuel Pascali saw his header from Sammy Clingan’s free-kick drift wide of Brown’s goal.
Barbour lashed over the bar as Killie continued to press but Samson had to be at his best to foil County winger Graham Carey.
Brittain (77) gave the home side the breathing space they craved when he was fouled in the area by Lee Ashcroft and the County skipper made no mistake from the penalty spot.
Boyd (88) set up a nervy finish when he headed in Chris Johnston’s cross but the home side held out – much to the relief of the Jail End.