The announcement on Saturday that their former defender Danny Griffin was about to take to the pitch had echoes of proclamations made at Fir Park and Rugby Park earlier in the week, when James McFadden and Kris Boyd agreed to return to their first clubs until the end of the season.
Griffin's comeback was restricted only to the task of shepherding his kids off the pitch after they had performed their duties as matchday mascots, rather than dusting off his boots to reprise his role as centre-half for the club where he started.
He was still able to walk out into a warm atmosphere; one wrapped in sentiment but soon pierced by the sharp focus this St Johnstone team have afforded the pursuit of qualification for the Europa League this season. They have taken up a position on the fringes of Europe – a narrow victory over St Mirren on Saturday enough to leave the Perth side nestled behind Motherwell on goal difference – and with a relatively unobstructed view of third place since they face Dundee on Wednesday, while Celtic are at Fir Park. A derby in Tayside is no guarantee of a further three points, but St Johnstone are now looking beyond the boundaries of the region.
They did not offer their most constructive argument at the weekend for returning to the Europa League but neither were they asked many testing questions by St Mirren; Rowan Vine acting decisively to score from a faltering attack. It was an ugly way to win a game, in much the same way that a wart is an unseemly feature on a broken nose.
That St Johnstone are sitting pretty owes much to consistency and they have fallen to defeat just twice in their last nine league matches. The rest they owe to the timing, with both Motherwell and Inverness Caledonian Thistle having stumbled of late to allow the Perth side to catch up ahead of the league split on April 6. There is still a vulnerability to this St Johnstone squad and a frustrating lack of imagination at the weekend jarred since Vine, Liam Craig, Murray Davidson and Mehdi Abeid were all in support of Steven MacLean initially. However it is a team which is benefiting a belief that they can rise above such shortcomings due to their uplifting momentum.
"Europe has got to be our target now," said Davidson. "You've got to set your sights high although there are six or seven clubs thinking the same thing. Second place is up for grabs. Why not go for that runners-up spot?
"We're in the final stage of the season, with five games before the split. A couple of wins will put us in a strong position. The team that can go on a wee run now and be the most consistent will probably nick second place.
"It does look as though this will be my last season at the club and it would be a good way to end it."
The league campaign already seems to be over for St Mirren, at least in terms of reaching the top six. They are nine points adrift of sixth place and in such stuttering form that any success in cutting that gap is likely to be seen as an accident. The Scottish Communities League Cup final will help reanimate the Paisley club next month but it was not enough to soothe the agitation felt by Steven Thompson.
"Getting to the top six looks like it's a mountain to climb now, actually," said the St Mirren striker. "Lack of consistency has been key."