Kimpioka earns St Johnstone victory over fellow strugglers Ross County

St Johnstone are now five points ahead of County who sit in the relegation play-off zone.

Benjamin Kimpioka earns St Johnstone victory over fellow strugglers Ross County SNS Group

St Johnstone opened up daylight over Ross County in the battle to avoid relegation from the Premiership after a 1-0 win in Dingwall.

The Staggies had looked bright, getting into the final third only to see a lack of quality when it mattered most cost them.

The same could not be said for St Johnstone, who had fewer chances but crucially made one of them count through Benjamin Kimpioka in the 35th minute to seal all three points.

Both sides missed good chances to break the deadlock in the early stages.

James Brown could not beat Dimitar Mitov on a couple of occasions, while Yan Dhanda blazed over for the hosts.

Anthony Gallacher did the same at the other end with arguably the chance of the game so far, finding himself through one-on-one with George Wickens only to lift the ball over both goalkeeper and crossbar.

St Johnstone took the lead in the 35th minute, though, as Kimpioka latched on to a long ball forward after Will Nightingale misjudged his interception.

The Swedish forward still had plenty of work to do, but he dropped a shoulder to cut inside Loick Ayina and on to his right foot before picking out the far corner.

County pushed for an equaliser after the restart, forcing a number of saves from Mitov.

Brown had another effort, nearly catching the keeper out at his near post, with Simon Murray volleying straight at Mitov from the edge of the box.

Ayina also got in on the act, taking aim from 25 yards out and forcing Mitov to tip the ball over his crossbar.

Try as they might, County could not find a breakthrough, with the final whistle going as St Johnstone kept the ball by the corner flag.

Victory for the visitors lifted them five points above second-bottom County in the table, albeit having played one game more.

The crucial run of fixtures the Dingwall outfit are on, having taken one point from matches against Livingston and St Johnstone, continues on Tuesday evening when they travel to Motherwell, who now sit in 10th place after being leapfrogged by St Johnstone.

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