Ross County answered the critics with an inspired victory over St Mirren in the Scottish Premiership match at Global Energy Stadium.
The final scoreline reflected County’s dominant display with a stunning strike from Stuart Kettlewell and a Richard Brittain double - one from the penalty spot - completed a satisfying afternoon’s work from the home side.
County made a lively start to the match and Richard Brittain tested Saints goalkeeper David Cornell with a long range effort in the third minute.
In the next attack another Brittain effort was parried by Cornell but Kevin Luckassen was unable to turn the ball in before it was cleared for a corner.
County looked in the mood after a poor start to the season and Graham Carey got behind the Saints’ defence but his shot flew wide of the far post.
At the other end a Gary Teale corner was knocked on by Marc McAusland for Gary Harkins, who took a touch but County keeper Mark Brown got a hold of the ball.
But it was mostly County and they took the lead in the eighth minute when Kettlewell fired into the top corner of the net from the 18-yard box for a sensational strike.
Saints pushed forward in search of an equaliser and with Cornell off his line Grant Munro tried to lob the ball into the net from just over the halfway line - but the ball drifted wide of the target.
Conor Newton came close with a curling shot which just went wide of Brown’s post, while at the other end a Luckassen turn and shot appeared to be brilliantly turned over by Cornell - but referee Calum Murray awarded a goal-kick to the visitors.
The pressure paid off in the 23rd minute when County were awarded a penalty after Ben Gordon was fouled well inside the box by Jim Goodwin. Brittain’s spot-kick was brilliantly saved by Cornell but the County captain reacted quickly and turned the rebound into the net.
County looked dangerous every time they moved forward and Sproule did well to get to the byline and cross for Carey to head narrowly past the post.
Luckasssen could have been even further ahead at the start of the second half when he raced clear on goal but despite support in the middle he decided to shoot and Cornell was equal to the task.
But a third goal was not long in coming and it arrived in the 56th minute after a Luckassen shot was deflected behind for a corner.
Cairey played it short to Brittain, who had delayed his run before drilling the ball into the far corner of the net.