A Steven Anderson backpost header from a free kick and a Danny Swanson penalty, both scored in the second half, gave Saints a 2-1 win over Tayside rivals Dundee at McDiarmid Park.
Rory Loy scored from the penalty spot for the visitors with two minutes of time remaining but St. Johnstone held out for a deserved win which takes the club up to fourth place in the table, behind third-placed Hearts on goal difference.
Saints headed into Sunday’s derby against Dundee looking to improve on last week’s defeat to Kilmarnock. Tommy Wright’s side put in a strong performance but weren’t clinical enough in front of goal, so the Perth side would be looking to convert any early chances to address this.
Dundee kicked off, shooting into the Ormond Stand, but it was Saints who carved out the first real chance, as Anderson’s header from a Craig free kick was blocked, and Shaughnessy nodded Swanson’s second ball into the arms of Bain.
A deep Swanson cross after excellent build up with Craig and Easton almost found Wotherspoon, but the ball swerved late into the reach of Bain.
Swanson, keen to make an early impression then tried his own luck after cutting inside from the left and curling an effort into Bain’s bottom corner, but the goalkeeper matched his effort.
Saints dominated the opening attacks, and a deep Easton cross was headed goalwards by MacLean, but Bain again kept the scores level.
Dundee’s first chance came on 13 minutes as Jordi Teijsse found himself in acres of space in the Saints box, but blasted his close range effort into Clark’s grasp.
Clark then denied Hately from a direct free kick, tipping the former Motherwell player’s effort behind for a corner, as well as Teijsse’s header from the resulting set piece.
Saints came close to opening the scoring 26 minutes as MacLean weaved his way through the box and was brought down, but Davidson played on and his low cross was missed by Kane.
Moments later, Shaughnessy blocked a Teijsse shot from inside the area as the game was brought to life.
Chris Kane had the ball in the net, but it was ruled out for offside as MacLean, who fed him through, was deemed to be offside after latching onto Swanson’s blocked shot.
Again Danny Swanson tried his luck from the left, but again Bain matched, as half time drew closer and the deadlock hadn’t been broken.
Dundee made a forced switch on 41 minutes, as Duffy replaced the injured El Bakhtaoui.
And in injury time, Wotherspoon found himself in acres of space but slipped as he made contact, leaving Dallas to blow for half time at 0-0.
The second half started quietly, but excellent persistence from Kane presented Swanson with an opportunity at the edge of the area, and the wingers shot stung the palms of Bain.
Ricky Foster then tried from an advanced position, but his effort met a tangle of Dundee defenders.
But on the hour mark, Saints opened the scoring as Steven Anderson rifled a Craig free kick high into the Dundee net. 1-0.
Dundee immediately switched Ross for Wighton as they looked to retaliate.
Saints continued to press and another Craig free kick was tipped away by Bain only minutes later.
Saints were given the chance to double their lead as MacLean was brought down in the box, attempting to latch onto a Wotherspoon cross. As expected, Danny Swanson dispatched with ease. 2-0 St Johnstone.
Dundee made their last switch immediately, bringing on Loy for Hateley.
Saints made their first change with ten minutes to go as Coulson came on for Chris Kane, who had impressed all afternoon.
And with his first touch, Coulson headed a Swanson flick off the crossbar, agonisingly denied his first Saints goal in the derby.
It was then the turn of MacLean to hunt a late third, as Foster’s high ball in dipped for him before the byline, but the striker headed into Bain’s arms.
Dundee were awarded a late penalty for hand ball, and Rory Loy sent Zander Clark the wrong way to bring one back.
Saints brought on Paton for goalscorer Swanson in order to try to hold onto their lead into injury time.
The fourth official held the board up for three additional minutes of play, and although Dundee pressed they could not find the equaliser and remained rooted to the bottom of the table. Full time: St Johnstone 2-1 Dundee.
Saints: Clark, Foster, Shaughnessy, Anderson, Easton, Wotherspoon, Davidson, Craig, Swanson (Paton, 87), Kane, (Coulson, 80) MacLean. Unused subs: Mannus, Alston, Millar, Gordon, Cummins.
Goals: Anderson (61), Swanson (74)
Dundee: Bain, Holt, Vincent, O’Dea, Hateley (Loy, 74), Williams, Ross (Wighton, 61), McGowna, Teijsse, El Bakhtaoui (Duffy, 41), Gomis. Unused subs: Mitchell, Extebeguren, Gadzhalov, Kerr.
Goals: Loy (87)
Attendance: 3646 Referee: Andrew Dallas Man of the Match: Steven Anderson
Match report by Ross Gardiner.
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