Dundee United manager Robbie Neilson was left shell-shocked after Ross County snatched a point when Jamie Lindsay scored an equaliser four minutes into stoppage time. He claimed it would now be “one of the biggest disasters you will see” if the league leaders fail to win the title.

“That’s football – isn’t it?,” he said. “It was similar to Saturday when we created a lot of chances but didn’t put the game to bed. The boys are devastated. The fans were phenomenal again and came up here in numbers. They will realise the work rate the boys put in and that we deserved to win it.

“If you don’t put the ball into the back of the net then it is always going to be a nervous time at the end. I thought we were in total control of the game. We should have scored more.

“There is still a chance for the title. Mathematically, it’s still there. But I think if Ross County don’t win the title it will be one of the biggest disasters you will ever see because they are so far ahead.”

A superbly-organised United side were able to sit tight on the lead after Pavol Safranko had scored his 12th goal of the season. The goal came from a Scott Fox clearance, and when County’s Andy Boyle and Lewis Spence dithered in possession, Ian Harkes won the ball and exchanged passes with Paul McMullan.

Harkes’ through-pass then released Safranko inside the left of the box and, from an angle, the Slovakian thrashed a fine shot past Fox.

It might have been all over for County when McMullan wriggled free to the right of the box and whipped a tremendous angled shot off the far post after 78 minutes.

Incredibly, four minutes into stoppage time, County dealt the hammer blow. Substitute Michael Gardyne battered the ball across and Ross Stewart managed to tee up Lindsay for a thumping finish to leave United shattered.

Jubilant home manager Stuart Kettlewell said it felt like a win.

“I wouldn’t want to say that win was a sign of champions but I think that is a sign of this group of players. It was one of our poorer performances of the season, we looked disjointed at times but I’m putting it down to Tuesday’s derby game.

“It was a more positive result for us than Dundee United. The nature of the late goal is a massive way to get something in the game. It feels like a win for us and a defeat for them. This has given us a huge boost and you could see by our players’ reaction to theirs coming off the pitch.

“We won’t get carried away. We are in a good position but we have a big game against Dunfermline on Tuesday. We will rest up and go again.

“You could see Jamie was bursting to make something happen in the game. He has scored some crucial goals for us this season and he has been terrific.”

Ross County (4-4-2): Fox; Fraser, Boyle, Van der Weg, Kelly; Mullin, Spence (Cowie 68), Lindsay, Armstrong (Gardyne 68); Stewart, McManus (Graham 57,). Subs: Munro, Semple, Paton, Grivosti.

Booked: Spence 52, Armstrong 58, Van der Weg 81

Dundee United (4-2-3-1) – Siegrist; Watson, Reynolds, Connelly, Robson; Harkes, Butcher; McMullan (Smith 90), Clark (Fyvie 77), Pawlett; Safranko. Subs: Laidlaw, Nesbitt, Graham, Seaman.

Referee: Steven McLean.