Match ends, St. Johnstone 2, Dundee United 1.
A wonderful individual goal from Chris Millar completed a sensational fightback for St Johnstone to continue the home side's resurgent form.
United's breakthrough came two minutes before half-time when Calum Butcher angled a low effort across Alan Mannus.
Michael O'Halloran nodded Lee Croft's perfect delivery down and into the net.
Saints kept going and Millar picked up on the edge of the box, jinked to the left then cut back on to his right foot to finish low into the corner.
The goal was reward for St Johnstone's second-half commitment, and they always looked the more likely of the two teams despite falling behind.
A healthy 7,000 crowd witnessed a frenetic finale as the game opened up but United will rue the missed chance to close the gap to leaders Celtic to just two points.
It was a stale first half devoid of chances, with a Croft shot, which was tipped over, the only real effort of note by either side.
However, Butcher put the visitors ahead just before half-time after latching on to Stuart Armstrong's lay-off.
The midfielder stretched as he was closed down and arrowed a low effort across Mannus which left the keeper stranded.
United impressed with their tight, incisive interplay but a lack of clinical finishing cost them dearly as the match wore on, with Armstrong missing two good openings.
Dave Mackay went closest for St Johnstone with a fierce left-foot drive which was tipped away superbly by Radoslaw Cierzniak.
O'Hallaron brought St Johnstone back on level terms when he was inexplicably left unmarked just six yards from goal.
United claimed handball when Mackay charged down a clearance. The ball broke to Croft and it was his wonderful delivery that found the striker with the easiest of chances to nod home.
The game swung from end to end but it was a piece of individual brilliance which settled the match, perhaps from the unlikeliest source.
Millar picked up possession and jinked left into the penalty area.
He abruptly checked back and fired a wonderful low right-footed shot across goal, inside the far post to send the home crowd wild.
It was pulsating stuff as the final whistle approached but the home side held out to continue their upturn in form.
- 22CroftSubstituted forMillerat 90'minutes
- 4LappinBooked at 31minsSubstituted forMcDonaldat 77'minutes
- 14MorrisBooked at 82minsSubstituted forMackay-Stevenat 88'minutes
- 10S Armstrong
- Alan Muir
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, St. Johnstone 2, Dundee United 1.
Attempt missed. Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Substitution, St. Johnstone. Gary Miller replaces Lee Croft.
Attempt blocked. Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Substitution, Dundee United. Gary Mackay-Steven replaces Callum Morris because of an injury.
Goal! St. Johnstone 2, Dundee United 1. Chris Millar (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.
Hand ball by David Mackay (St. Johnstone).
Callum Morris (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card.
Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Callum Morris (Dundee United).
Attempt missed. Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high following a corner.
Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Radoslaw Cierzniak.
Attempt saved. Brian Easton (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Foul by Lee Croft (St. Johnstone).
Blair Spittal (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Callum Morris (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone).
Substitution, St. Johnstone. Gary McDonald replaces Simon Lappin.
Goal! St. Johnstone 1, Dundee United 1. Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) header from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lee Croft.