Stevie May was St Johnstone’s hero as they heaped more Premiership misery on Tayside rivals Dundee United with a 2-1 win at Tannadice.
The striker netted twice either side of a Dylan Levitt goal to secure the victory that moved Saints 10 points clear of the bottom-of-the table Tangerines.
The result piles more pressure on United boss Liam Fox, with his side now having lost five games in a row.
St Johnstone goalkeeper Remi Matthews was called into action in just the second minute when United’s Aziz Behich burst down the left and hit a low angled shot which Matthews saved at his near post.
Saints had a half-chance of their own when Cammy MacPherson let fly with a speculative long-range effort but home keeper Mark Birighitti made a comfortable save.
Shortly afterwards, Adam Montgomery sent a wicked low ball across the face of the United goal but there were no takers in a St Johnstone shirt.
May then tried his luck with an effort that just flew past Birighitti’s left-hand post.
However, the deadlock was finally broken after 31 minutes when Melker Hallberg took his time before hitting an inch-perfect cross from the right, with May producing a sweet first-time volley that gave Birighitti no chance.
The players headed down the tunnel at the break with a section of the home support directing their anger towards club sporting director Tony Asghar.
United had a chance at the start of the second half when Kai Fotheringham sent a cross in from the left with the ball eventually being cleared off the Saints line by Dan Phillips.
However, chances were few and far between, with a MacPherson effort from just outside the United box in the 62nd minute flying well over.
Fotheringham had a close-range opportunity of his own from a Charlie Mulgrew knock-down but could not get enough on the ball and Matthews made a comfortable save.
Saints had an opening soon after when Nicky Clark found time and space in the home box but the former United striker’s shot was too close to Birighitti who gathered.
The home side then equalised in the 81st minute when Levitt hit a superb strike from 30 yards that beat Matthews at his left-hand post.
However, Saints incredibly took the lead once more just a minute later when Mulgrew played a ball back to Birighitti who took a touch but May slid in to fire into the net.
The keeper was injured in the process and had to be replaced by Jack Newman.
United then had a chance to draw level again but substitute Rory MacLeod dragged his shot well wide.