However, the triumph for County - who only joined the Scottish Football League in 1994 - in their first League Cup final marked a great double for Highland football, given rivals Inverness are holders of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
In an open start to the match, a snap-shot from 25 yards after 12 minutes from Hibs striker Jason Cummings had Gary Woods stretching to tip the ball over for a corner, which came to nothing, but the Staggies goalkeeper had to foil Hibs captain David Gray moments later.
Ross County's Andrew Davies and teammates celebrate winning the Scottish League Cup Final with the trophy
Image credit: Reuters
With the game being played mainly in the Ladbrokes Premiership side's half, Woods saved from Anthony Stokes after the striker made a yard of space for himself inside the County box.
The Staggies had shown little in attack before they scored with their first and only shot on goal in the first half.
Midfielder Jackson Irvine intercepted Kevin Thomson's pass to Stokes and drove forward before playing in Gardyne and, despite the best efforts of midfielder Marvin Bartley, he rounded Mark Oxley and slid the ball into the net.
Hibs were stunned and it took some time for them to get back on track, defender Darren McGregor heading over from a Gray cross before the Hibees skipper failed to connect properly just yards out after finding himself in the end of a Liam Henderson corner.
Woods then made another decent save from Cummings and it looked like County would take their lead into the break.
Hibernian players look dejected after losing the Scottish
Image credit: Reuters
But, with seconds of the first 45 minutes remaining, Hibs deservedly drew level following another Henderson corner. It was flicked on by Gray and, when it fell to Fontaine, he turned and fired high into the net for only his second goal of the season, sending the huge Hibs support wild with delight and changing the half-time team-talk of both bosses.
Hibs carried their dominance into the second half, with Stokes driving just wide in the 53rd minute.
Brian Graham replaced the ineffective Liam Boyce just before the hour mark and minutes later the striker went down after catching an arm in the face in a challenge with Bartley.
The Easter Road midfielder saw a yellow card from referee Kevin Clancy, which might have been red.
Ross County looked to hit on the break but those bursts forward were few and far between and, when Graham got the ball in the net in the 75th minute, he was ruled correctly offside.
In the 79th minute Hibs goalkeeper Oxley did well to parry a Schalk free-kick down at his right post but was given the benefit of the doubt by referee Clancy moments later when Graham again had the ball in the net, the official deeming his challenge on the Englishman to be illegal.
The game looked to be heading into extra time but Gardyne summoned up some energy to drive forward and, when Fontaine, in his bid to clear the cross, knocked the ball straight to Schalk, he gleefully rammed the ball in from a yard out.
County had to hold out for four minutes and more of added time - Woods tipped over a Fontaine shot - but the final whistle signalled Highland history.