Match ends, St Johnstone 2, Dundee United 0.
St Johnstone moved to within three points of Dundee United after dominating this dress rehearsal for the Scottish Cup final.
Steven Anderson's first-half header gave the Perth side a lead they would never relinquish.
And Stevie May's opportunist second made sure of a comprehensive victory
United rarely threatened, spurning what few opportunities they had and likely bidding farewell to their hopes of a top-three finish in the process.
But for St Johnstone, it was an ideal way to prepare for the Celtic Park showpiece next month.
The victory was more than merited, too. The hosts were the more roused of the two semi-final victors from the start and continued to play with a verve that United struggled to contain.
Indeed, from the moment Radoslaw Cierzniak pawed desperately at an Anderson volley during the opening exchanges, the Perth side were the more threatening. That Keith Watson had to clear a low David Wotherspoon cross out from under his own crossbar a few minutes later only reinforced that impression.
It came as little surprise, then, when St Johnstone made good on their ascendancy just after the half hour.
United conceded a free-kick in their right-back area and Wotherspoon's delivery invited Anderson to rise unchallenged and nudge a header beyond Cierzniak.
That was the first goal St Johnstone have scored against United this term that did not carry the signature of May, but the striker was a persistent pest.
One fierce lash cannoned back off a post and another grazed the crossbar from the 21-year-old striker.
He would, unsurprisingly, get his fifth goal of the season against United, but had to wait until the final quarter of the game to do it. Wotherspoon released Dave Mackay down the right and, although Watson beat May to the cross initially, the striker reacted sharply to force over the line at the second attempt.
By that stage, it had seemed as if a second goal would elude St Johnstone.
Michael O'Halloran and Steven MacLean got in each other's way after Cierzniak flapped at a May cutback, May himself should have done better than lift over the bar after scampering on to a Wotherspoon pass, and the latter rattled a low drive against the inside of a post.
United did not even come that close, with chances scant amid a dreary display. Defensively shaken, overpowered in midfield and ineffective in attack, Jackie McNamara's side were nowhere near their best and rarely looked like disturbing what was a comfortable afternoon for St Johnstone.
Ryan Gauld jabbed straight at Alan Mannus, and the goalkeeper made two further fine saves, first to thwart Gary Mackay-Steven's attempt to lift a delicate lob over him, then from a towering Brian Graham header.
Substitute Ryan Dow enjoyed United's only other openings, twice directing efforts past the target, the first after an outrageous piece of Mackay-Steven trickery.
That brought a cheer from the travelling support, but the celebrations were enjoyed only by St Johnstone.
- 6AndersonBooked at 80mins
- 10WotherspoonSubstituted forThomsonat 89'minutes
- 17MaySubstituted forMillerat 85'minutes
- 29O'HalloranSubstituted forHasselbainkat 77'minutes
- 11Mackay-StevenSubstituted forGrahamat 83'minutes
- 19GauldSubstituted forDowat 61'minutes
- 29El Alagui
- John Beaton
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, St Johnstone 2, Dundee United 0.
Patrick Cregg (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Andrew Robertson (Dundee United).
Substitution, St Johnstone. Craig Thomson replaces David Wotherspoon.
Hand ball by Steven MacLean (St Johnstone).
Attempt saved. Brian Graham (Dundee United) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Substitution, St Johnstone. Gary Miller replaces Steve May.
Substitution, Dundee United. Brian Graham replaces Gary Mackay-Steven.
Steve May (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Keith Watson (Dundee United).
Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Frazer Wright.
Steven Anderson (St Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Steven Anderson (St Johnstone).
Ryan Dow (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Steve May (St Johnstone).
Ryan Dow (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, St Johnstone. Nigel Hasselbaink replaces Michael O'Halloran.
Goal! St Johnstone 2, Dundee United 0. Steve May (St Johnstone) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by David Mackay.
Frazer Wright (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.