Having seen off Celtic at the weekend after a combined score of 22:0 in the previous eight meetings between the two, the Paisley side doubled their money yesterday by taking the scalp of an Inverness Caledonian Thistle side which had also eluded them in the previous eight attempts. St Mirren remain one of the bottom, Inverness one off the top, but you would hardly have guessed there was a gulf between them as the teams trooped off.
Just as he had been on Sunday, the man responsible for the winning goal was Steven Thompson. His 14th of the season came via a downward header from David Van Zanten's lofted cross which went in off the inside of the post, settling a match in which the home side were frustrated as much by referee Alan Muir as the visitors.
"In a matter of three days, we have managed to beat the top two teams in the league," said Danny Lennon. "We played some exceptional stuff in the first half but we got a wee break in the second and it was a terrific header by Steven Thompson. As Alicia Keys says, he's on fire!"
Terry Butcher won't look back on the last few days with as much fondness, although the Highlanders played some good stuff in the second half and again can look back on missed chances. "Every point is pivotal but it's our first loss in the league for quite some time and we've played far worse and won," said Butcher. "That's how bizarre this season is."
The question beforehand had been about which of these two teams would suffer the biggest Scottish Communities League Cup hangover. Inverness' loss to Hearts had the potential to be wounding, while St Mirren had been doing a spot of celebrating.
John McGinn's reward for mixing it with the likes of Victor Wanyama at Hampden was a place on the bench, at the expense of the returning knee injury victim Kenny McLean, while Terry Butcher also made just one change, handing a debut to Danny Devine, the 20-year-old centre half who has signed until the end of the season from Fleetwood Town. There was room on his bench for the on-loan Leeds defender Charlie Taylor and the QPR winger Jordan Gibbons.
These are two of the more aesthetically pleasing sides in the SPL but this was hardly a night for the purists. An icy, gusting wind whirled around the pitch, and there were merit awards for anyone who ventured out, not least the bus load who had ventured down from the north.
Within minutes a wind-assisted effort from the best part of 30 yards from Owain Tudor-Jones forced a fine tip over from Sunday's penalty hero Craig Samson at one end, while the eager McLean tested Antonio Reguero at his near post with a low shot.
It was the kind of night where exotic signings such as Esmael Goncalves, St Mirren's recent recruit from Rio Ave, were not expected to prosper, but the man who arrived in this country with talk of emulating his idol Didier Drogba continued his fine start another goal.
Paul McGowan was the architect with a cute wedge shot over the defence, and the former Boavista player cushioned it on his chest before cleverly beating Reguero at his near post.
St Mirren were suddenly rampant, with McGowan and Gary Teale both prominent, but it soon transpired that Muir was to have a huge hand in this game. Goncalves' running on the flank will become a feature of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and he was too hot for Graeme Shinnie on one break down the right.
The Inverness full back appeared to clip Goncalves just inside the box but Muir waved the appeal away. He wasn't so reticent at the other end just before half-time. Billy McKay clipped the ball into the path of Richie Foran, the backtracking Conor Newton was clumsy in his challenge, and the official awarded a penalty. Considering he was the club's main sinner on Saturday, McKay showed considerable poise to roll in his 21st of the season.
McAusland failed to return after the break and Inverness came out with renewed vigour. With Foran joining McKay as a more authentic front man, Andrew Shinnie saw a shot deflected over while McKay just missed another of the Irishman's knockdowns, then Samson somehow saved from Foran.
The 18-year-old McGinn duly made his appearance from the bench, as did Lewis Guy, and the substitutes helped turn the tide of the game. Only seven minutes remained for an Inverness response when Thompson's header went in.
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