Match ends, Dundee United 1, St. Johnstone 2.
St Johnstone came from behind against Dundee United to register their sixth straight away win in all competitions.
United - who are now six points adrift at the bottom - started well and took a deserved lead when Billy McKay headed home after some fine build-up play.
Chris Kane's header drew Saints level, and they took the lead when Murray Davidson scored from close range.
Steven MacLean missed a second-half penalty, but Saints held on for a fourth straight Premiership victory.
Dundee United began with a new look 3-4-2-1 formation, with wing-backs Ryan McGowan and Paul Dixon pushing high up the pitch.
McGowan fired a shot just wide in the fourth minute, while Gavin Gunning almost marked his return to Tannadice with a goal but his free-kick from 25 yards flew inches wide.
A squiggler from John Rankin, parried wide by the St Johnstone goalkeeper Alan Mannus, got the home crowd voicing their approval.
They were off their seats soon after when some excellent play from United resulted in McGowan crossing for McKay,who nodded the home side in front.
St Johnstone almost equalised immediately, but Dave Mackay's free-kick came back off a post.
Charlie Telfer then almost extended United's lead, but Mannus saved well.
But St Johnstone would equalise with a venomous header from Chris Kane from a David Wotherspoon corner.
And just before half-time Davidson put Saints in front. Joe Shaughnessy somehow managed to miss with the goal at his mercy from a Michael O'Halloran cross, but the ball rebounded back to Davidson to squeeze home.
The major talking point at the start of the second-half was an incident that saw McGowan go down under a challenge from Steven Anderson in the box. Referee Craig Thomson booked the Australian international for diving, despite his vigorous complaints to the contrary.
Thomson would point to the spot down at the other end when Rankin pulled down Kane. However, MacLean blazed the penalty high over the bar.
Dixon had a deflected effort which went just over the bar, and Blair Spittal had a 20-yard pile driver saved by Mannus, as St Johnstone held on for the three points to strengthen their grip on fourth place.
- 12McGowanBooked at 52mins
- 16TelferSubstituted forFraserat 58'minutes
- 8RankinBooked at 64mins
- 7MillarBooked at 69mins
- 8DavidsonBooked at 83mins
- 10WotherspoonBooked at 14minsSubstituted forCaddisat 50'minutesBooked at 71mins
- 29O'HalloranBooked at 62mins
- 25KaneSubstituted forSuttonat 75'minutes
- Craig Thomson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Dundee United 1, St. Johnstone 2.
Foul by Paul Dixon (Dundee United).
Liam Caddis (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
John Rankin (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone).
Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Alan Mannus.
Attempt saved. Blair Spittal (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.
Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Brian Easton.
Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by David Mackay.
Foul by Blair Spittal (Dundee United).
Liam Caddis (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt blocked. Billy McKay (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Scott Fraser (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone).
Scott Fraser (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Brian Easton (St. Johnstone).
Foul by Gavin Gunning (Dundee United).
Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.