Livingston ditched their “ugly football” tag and treated the locals to a 4-1 win which served as a reminder to newcomers County that top-flight survival will not be easily achieved.
County found themselves trailing by three goals inside 26 minutes after Livi took advantage of woeful defending in this Ladbrokes Premiership clash.
The deficit would have been even greater had Scott Pittman and Ricki Lamie not squandered chances in the wake of Jon Guthrie’s third minute opener.
But the visitors were well enough pleased when Steven Lawless and Lyndon Dykes chipped in with two more with barely a quarter of the match played.
Guthrie had what amounted to a free header after being left unmarked to get on the end of Keaghan Jacobs’ free-kick from the left.
The home side were guilty of further blunders before Lawless pounced after the defence had failed to deal with Jacobs’ corner to drill home his side’s second through a crowded box.
Any hope the Staggies had of redressing the balance all but disappeared when Dykes fired home Scott Robinson’s assist from the centre of the box.
After beating Hamilton convincingly on the opening day of the league campaign and being considered unfortunate not to take three points from Hearts at Tynecastle, County appeared incredibly fragile.
Indeed, instead of mounting a sustained offensive in an effort to claw their way back into the match, County continued to be ruthlessly exposed by free-flowing Livingston.
But Ross Stewart offered some hope a minute before half-time when none had previously existed. Billy McKay played the striker in and Stewart hit the bottom left corner of the net from around 10 yards.
County served notice that they might be up for a scrap when they began the second half with much more purpose than they had shown in the first.
But after Blair Spittal had wasted a decent chance, shooting high, substitute Jack Stobbs – who had replaced Robinson in the first half – restored Livi’s three-goal advantage in the 52nd minute with the pick of the breakthroughs.
Stobbs offered a demonstration of superb ball control when he connected with Lawless’ cross from the left to execute a perfect volley from 18 yards.
There was no way back for the Staggies after that and Livi were able to defend their handsome lead with comparative ease.