Simon Murray scored a terrific double as Ross County secured cinch Premiership survival with an emphatic 6-1 aggregate win over Raith Rovers at the Global Energy Stadium.

The Staggies led 2-1 from the first leg at Stark’s Park on Thursday night and added to that advantage in the 19th minute when Murray scored his 22nd goal of the season with a header.

The Kirkcaldy side were arguably the better side in the first half but were stunned two minutes after break when County forward Jordan White headed in a second from a corner. Murray then drove an unstoppable shot in from 25 yards with 15 minutes remaining, before 19-year-old substitute Brandon Khela curled in a fourth as County ran out comfortable winners.

County had retained top-flight status last season with a dramatic play-off win over Partick Thistle, coming from 3-0 down on aggregate to win on penalties.

However, a large Rovers support travelled with hope and created a cracking atmosphere for the noon kick-off in cold and wet weather more in keeping with winter.

Amid an energetic start, an effort from Rovers’ Lewis Vaughan was comfortably gathered by County goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw, who then saved Sam Stanton’s more powerful drive.

In County’s response, wide-man James Brown came in from the right and fired a left-footed shot just wide of Kevin Dabrowski’s left-hand post.

However, just as it looked like the Fifers had a foothold in the game, the home side took the lead.

Will Nightingale took a pass from Brown wide on the right and curled in a cross which bypassed White – he may have got the slightest of touches – before the ever-dangerous Murray stole in at the back post to head in from close range.

Ian Murray’s side gathered themselves and drove forward again and Josh Mullin hit the defensive wall with a free-kick from 30 yards.

It took a terrific block from County defender Ryan Leak to thwart Dylan Corr in front of goal. Laidlaw tipped a shot on the turn from Vaughan past the post for a corner that was defended and then Dylan Easton curled a shot from distance just past the post.

The home side conceded a corner early in the second half when skipper Scott Brown’s sliced interception looped behind and when Yan Dhanda – who will join Hearts next season – delivered from the right, White rose in a packed penalty area to bullet in a header.

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A difficult task for the Kirkcaldy side, who had finished second to Championship winners Dundee United, now looked unlikely.

Just after the hour mark, Dhanda flashed a shot wide of Dabrowski but also wide of the target.

County captain Jack Baldwin blocked a Stanton shot inside the home side’s penalty area as the visitors tried all they could to find a lifeline but they were sunk when Murray took a White pass and arrowed a drive past the helpless Dabrowski.

Laidlaw made saves from Aidan Connelly, fellow Raith substitute Jack Hamilton and Easton before Birmingham loanee Khela, on for Dhanda, scored his first Staggies goal from the edge of the box – but by then County were assured of playing cinch Premiership football next season.