Third top played third bottom but the match did not go according to the script. Alex Smith’s revamped County team swept to a well deserved victory and Caley Thistle were a shadow of the team that knocked Hamilton for six. Dennis Wyness was seemingly brought down in the County box in the second minute but no penalty was given. The action soon switched to the other end and Mark Brown tipped over a long range effort from Kevin McLeish in the fifth minute. McLeish scored the first goal in 13 minutes when Tassos Venetis chipped into his path and he volleyed home from 15 yards. In 18 minutes a Jordan Tait header struck the arm of Stuart McCaffrey and Steven Ferguson hit it low into the net from the resultant penalty – the home fans felt the award was harsh but it was 2-0. Wyness forced a save from Tony Bullock in 24 minutes – the first real shot on the County goal. On the half hour mark a Stuart Golabek 25 yard free kick came off the wall then he fired over the bar. Two minutes later Venetis forced his way through the middle but his shot was blocked by Brown. Venetis fared better in 39 minutes when he was in the same position and he hit past Brown for 3-0. On the stroke of half time a Barry Robson shot from outside the box hit the post with Bullock getting the faintest of touches on the way. In 48 minutes Golabek passed back to Brown but he was forced to catch it under pressure. This led to an indirect free kick a few yards out and the whole Caley Thistle team was strung out along the goal line. Hugh Robertson hammered goalwards and it deflected into the net for a fourth goal. The already subdued home fans were by now dumbfounded. It was not all one way traffic but the County defence handled all pressure easily. Steve Hislop had a good header on target on the hour mark but Robertson turned it for a corner. In 69 minutes a Robson corner seemed to hit a hand but this time a penalty was denied. Hislop then sliced across goal from a difficult angle and Bullock saved from Charlie Christie in 75 minutes. This was part of a brief spell of hope for the home fans but nothing materialised until the 87th minute when Wyness thumped home from an acute angle on the left of goal. County’s response was to race upfield and score a fifth! Conor Gethins had only been on the field for three minutes when he strode through the defence and scored easily – the home fans claimed offside but the goal stood. The last action was a David Bagan chip from 18 yards which was easily caught by Bullock. A painful night for Caley Thistle and a small step away from relegation for Ross County.