Nicky Clark’s superb finish continued Dundee United’s encouraging start to life in the Premiership.
All the talk pre-match had been about Ross County possibly going top of the league with a win in Dingwall but Micky Mellon’s men finished the day level on points with the Staggies.
Former Tannadice defender Coll Donaldson fired County into the lead on 29 minutes but Peter Pawlett grabbed a deserved equaliser for United five minutes before half-time.
Substitute Clark then came off the bench to slot the ball inside the far post after being played in by fellow sub Cammy Smith to take the three points down the A9.
That makes it two straight away wins – the other was at Motherwell seven days earlier – and they have a fine tally of seven points out of 12 after four top-flight matches.
When the game kicked off, there was no sign of striker Lawrence Shankland, who was out with an ankle injury for the third match running. Left-back Jamie Robson was missing following the horrendous head knock he suffered against Hibs.
Also, over on the right, there was no Liam Smith. Ryan Edwards sat this one out, too, having hurt his hamstring on his debut on Tuesday night. That meant the Tangerines revert to a back four.
Louis Appere stayed up front and Adrian Sporle kept his place after replacing Robson against the Hibees.
The most eye-catching change was the debut for Kieran Freeman, who slotted into the right-back vacancy behind Luke Bolton.
Bolton had a strike blocked at the back post on nine minutes for the Tangerines then there was a scare for the visitors when Harry Paton went down inside the box under a challenge from Mark Connnolly but referee Craig Napier rightly decided Paton had dived and booked the County man.
On 27 minutes, United tried a smart setpiece, with Pawlett squaring the ball to Sporle, who fired wide of the post from 30 yards.
However, they fell behind a couple of minutes later when unsighted keeper Benjamin Siegrist couldn’t reach a 20-yard strike from former Tannadice defender Donaldson that flew past the Swiss goalie into the back of the net.
Stewart then scooped the ball over the bar as County chased a second but the Tangerines levelled things up five minutes before the break.
It was a great finish from Pawlett inside a crowded box.
Bolton had done well up the right and sent the cross over and it eventually made its way back to Sporle, running forward on the left.
The Argentinian’s shot was blocked and the loose ball spun towards Pawlett, who drilled a low, left-foot shot past County keeper Ross Laidlaw.
Stewart headed down and over the bar for the hosts right on the half-time whistle.
United started the second period well and a sweeping run from Bolton up the right enabled him space to cut back to Ian Harkes, who shot wide from the edge of the County box.
Paton then missed a good chance for the Staggies, firing past when he should have at least hit the target.
United came back at them almost immediately on the hour when Bolton, who was having a fine game, raced forward with a clear path to goal thansk to Appere’s pass but drilled his strike against advancing keeper Laidlaw.
The on-loan Manchester City man almost pounced again minutes later when he ran on to a pass from Harkes. Bolton reached the ball before keeper Laidlaw but stabbed the ball just wide.
United brought on Nicky Clark for Appere before County’s Stewart squandered another opportunity when he pulled his shot wide from just 10 yards.
What a subsitution it was from Mellon, with Clark picking his spot just inside the far post after being played in by fellow sub Cammy Smith after good work from Logan Chalmers.
Pawlett brought a fine stop out of Laidlaw when he looked like making it 3-1 but the Highlanders escaped.
Donaldson should have been red-carded for a terrible challenge on Pawlett with three minutes to go as the Tangerines saw the match out.
Ross County: Laidlaw, Randall, Draper (Mullin 67), Gardyne (Erwin 58), Mckay (Charles-Cook 78), Vigurs, Iacovitti, Paton (Tillson 69), Donaldson, Stewart, Reid (Tremarco 78). Subs not used: Doohn, Shaw, Watson, Kelly.
Dundee United: Siegrist, Sporle, Connolly, Reynolds, Pawlett, Chalmers, Butcher (Powers 78), Bolton (C Smith 78), Freeman (Neilson 67), Harkes, Appere (Clark 72). Subs not used: Deniz, King, Glass, Mochrie, Graham.
Referee: Craig Napier.