The first shot on target turned out to be the only goal of the game. Alex Schalk scored in the 14th minute when he fired the ball past Ryan Scully into the far corner of the net from the edge of the 18-yard box.
Thistle dominated the second half but County were resillient in defence, and with results elsewhere going their way they booked a place in the top six of the Premiership.
The Ross County manager, Jim McIntyre, said after the match: “I’m delighted. It means everything. It was our goal at the start of the season to get in the top six.”
Dundee United lost 2-0 to Inverness with a poor performance at Tannadice bringing relegation to the Championship next season ever-closer for Mixu Paatelainen.
His side were defeated by goals in either half from Miles Storey and Iain Vigurs. The home side fell behind after 12 minutes when Caley Thistle’s Ross Draper beat United’s offside trap before setting up Storey, who finished from close range to put the Highlanders ahead.
Inverness benefited from the host’s defensive frailties when the United defender Callum Morris headed his attempted clearance from Greg Tansey’s corner straight to Vigurs who was standing 20 yards from goal.
Vigurs struck a long-range right-footed shot past Eiji Kawashima and the ball nestled low in his left corner. United now sit eight points behind second-bottom Kilmarnock with only five league games left and needing a turnaround in fortunes to stay up.
Kilmarnock’s Lee Clark picked up his first win as manager and eased his side’s relegation worries with a 3-0 win against St Johnstone at Rugby Park.
Kris Boyd opened the scoring, his first goal since August, from a free kick from the edge of the area 25 minutes into the contest and Kallum Higginbotham scored with a header at the back post from a Josh Magennis cross to extend Killie’s advantage after 65 minutes.
Boyd then scored a penalty after Rory McKenzie was upended in the penalty area with two minutes remaining to earn a vital win.
Hamilton increased their survival prospects and ended Dundee’s chances of a top-six place with a stoic 2-1 victory at New Douglas Park.
A second-half strike from Gary Harkins was not enough to stop Hamilton from recording their first home win since September after goals from Ali Crawford and Jesús García Tena.
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