Only six minutes stood between Danny Lennon's side and their first win of the season, a result that would have lifted them above Kilmarnock in the SPFL Premiership table and also alleviated the pressure that had been building on the manager's shoulders following four successive league defeats.
It was not to be, however, as Aberdeen plundered a late equaliser to extend their undefeated sequence to six matches and add to the gloom permeating in Paisley.
It had seemed just moments before Aberdeen struck that St Mirren's luck had finally turned for the better. A coming together of defenders Lee Mair and Darren McGregor - think Miller and Hansen at the 1982 World Cup - allowed substitute Niall McGinn to run in on goal only for the Northern Irishman to strike the post with his shot. The rebound then cannoned off David van Zanten and dribbled narrowly past the post, much to the relief of the Irishman and most of the crowd inside St Mirren Park.
Respite would be brief, however. From the resultant corner, the ball fell to Peter Pawlett, who shot through a ruck of players to draw his team level. It could have been worse for St Mirren in the final minute had McGinn passed to Jonny Hayes, unmarked at the back post, rather than attempt to beat Chris Dilo with an ambitious shot from a tight angle.If the concession of two points was a blow for St Mirren then they could at least take heart from a vibrant performance that offers encouragement for the future, as well as the point that extends their advantage over bottom-placed Hearts to nine points ahead of their meeting at Tynecastle on Saturday.
"It's a small step for us," said Lennon. "There's still a long way for us to go but if we continue to give that application, not just on matchdays but on a daily basis, then we'll do well. I was delighted with the commitment, desire and hunger. I asked the players to leave everything on the pitch and have no regrets, and they certainly did that."
If this was going to be Lennon's last hurrah then at least he didn't bow out wondering, making four changes from the side that had capitulated so tamely to Hibernian last time out. Granted, two of those were enforced as a result of suspension and injury, but there was a recall for Lee Mair - his first appearance of the season - a full debut for Sean Kelly, and the sight of Jim Goodwin redeployed in midfield.
The end result was a team almost straining at the leash to get going as they charged into tackles and tried, almost too hard, to make an impact. Too often balls would go astray or crosses would land out of bounds, but here was an emphatic response to the mounting accusations that the St Mirren players perhaps hadn't been working as hard as they ought to have been this season.
It took until the 27th minute before they recorded a chance of note - John McGinn's stinging shot was pushed away by Jamie Langfield - but there were signs of encouragement for the home support to latch on to.
It was Aberdeen, though, who looked the side more likely to score, their movements more composed and their runs more penetrating. With Calvin Zola pairing Scott Vernon in attack, the visitors possessed a powerful one-two punch in the first half, the duo giving Mair and McGregor barely a moment's peace. A corner within 30 seconds signalled Aberdeen's intent but St Mirren, by and large, kept them at bay, a Cammy Smith shot that flashed wide the closest they came to scoring in the opening period.
St Mirren went in front nine minutes into the second half. Paul McGowan's cross made its way through to Steven Thompson, who was somehow able to turn and poke his shot beyond Langfield. The relief was almost tangible, but it was too early in the game to be a telling moment.
Within minutes, St Mirren had McGregor to thank for a terrific last-ditch block to deny Pawlett before Dilo made a smart save from Hayes' free-kick. The home side, in fact, began to play almost on the counter and from one such move Kenny McLean was unlucky with a left-foot shot that flashed just wide of Langfield's left-hand post. Then came the late drama, Aberdeen equalising, then running out of time as they chased a winning goal.
"The positive is we were not at our best yet still came away with a point," said manager Derek McInnes. "After the equaliser we had the momentum but our enemy was the clock."