For this first time in nine SPFL Premiership matches, the Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager was forced to deviate from his preferred starting XI but the consequent continuity error was definitely not in the script.
Injuries to James Vincent and David Raven necessitated the alterations but those changes alone surely cannot entirely explain the fearful towsing meted out to the erstwhile league leaders by St Johnstone. The Highlanders had been beaten just once and conceded only four times in their opening eight matches, yet here they shipped that same number of goals during an abject 90 minutes.
"I rotated my squad and you see what happens," said a rueful Butcher. "Let's just forget about it. In fact, I told the kitman to pack that performance and result in a hamper and throw it off the Kessock Bridge."
That Inverness have been usurped by Celtic at the summit of the division hardly needs said but it is worth outlining just how impressive St Johnstone were. Despite having taken just two points from a possible 15, Tommy Wright's side played with vim and vigour and entirely merited their win, as even Butcher admitted.
Stevie May was central to everything that was good about the Perth team. The striker caused untold havoc by dropping into the space between the Inverness defence and midfield, embroidering play then using his pace to spring from deep.
The first goal, after 17 minutes, was an exemplar of such, May combining with Steven MacLean before releasing Gary McDonald and bursting into the box to meet the midfielder's low cross.
The visitors could have been behind a few minutes earlier - the Perth players claiming the ball had already crossed the goal-line by the time Dean Brill clawed clear a McDonald effort - but St Johnstone's superiority was such that it hardly mattered.
They doubled their lead after 26 minutes, with May smuggling the ball into the path of the onrushing Dave Mackay, whose sure touch gave him space to nudge past the advancing Brill.
There was an uncertainty about much of Inverness's work at both ends of the field. Danny Devine was not culpable for the loss of either goal, but the absence of Vincent left Billy McKay isolated at the apex of the attack.
Teenager Liam Polworth was unable to impress himself on the game and even the likes of Aaron Doran offered little more than one rasping drive which Alan Mannus flipped over the crossbar.
Perhaps the only Inverness player to perform anywhere near their capabilities was Brill. The goalkeeper made four important interventions, thwarting McDonald, David Wotherspoon, Nigel Hasselbaink and then May, but the Englishman was helpless as the hosts added two further goals, with May involved in both.
He cut back for MacLean to whip an effort across Brill and then skidded over a low cross that duped Devine and allowed MacLean to guide in from close range.
"It's easily our best performance of the season," said manager Wright. "I think that eclipsed our European performances because of the tempo we played at against a really good team."