AT least Mark McGhee can soon turn the heating back on. Barring a miracle, Dundee are heading down to the Championship and few on Dens Road will argue they deserve anything else. 

Where the blame lies is anyone’s guess. While the damage was already being done - he joined midway through what’s now a run of just one win in six months against Premiership opponents - the McGhee gamble hasn’t paid off. Nor has the scattergun recruitment policy of signing players based purely on vibes of days past.   

This was another afternoon to forget for Dundee; they’ve had too many of them this season. Charlie Adam, inexplicably, sent St Mirren on their way with a horror assist for Alex Greive, before a Curtis Main howitzer put all but the final nail in the coffin. 

Livingston's late leveller against St Johnstone means they can still mathematically do it but, with a six-point, seven-goal swing needed in the final two games, there's more chance of Sean Dillon being treated to a civic reception at Dens Park than it happening. 

HeraldScotland: Curtis Main's fine goal sealed the pointsCurtis Main's fine goal sealed the points

The fact Dundee - now winless in 11 attempts under Mark McGhee - still had the faintest chance of survival was more of a sorry indictment of St Johnstone’s struggles as it was their own staying power. Since the start of December they’d beaten more League One teams than they had Premiership, which says it all, really. 

Even McGhee’s teamsheet was delivered with more of a whiff of desperation than genuine hope. Zak Rudden was in from the start - one of two changes - offering more oomph alongside Danny Mullen, Niall McGinn and Luke McCowan, so, at the very least, the Dee were going for it. 

Albeit, their gameplan amounted to little more than what it had done all season: get the ball to Adam and hope he turned back the clock to 2010 for a few fleeting moments. 

With less than five minutes played and Dundee having started brightly, he did just that, strolling to the edge of the box, gliding away from his marker and playing such a fine ball it could so easily have been DJ Campbell getting on the end of it. How Adam must wish it had been.

Rather than finding Mullen, Rudden or, really, anyone in blue, he’d inexplicably passed it straight to the onrushing Greive, six yards from goal and with just the helpless Harry Sharp to beat. When the New Zealander duly did so, Adam wore the look of a man who knew the jig was up. 

Gallingly for the doomed guests, they’d been the better team in the early stages, McGhee’s 4-2-4 throw of the dice spooking St Mirren, but it all changed with that inexplicable flick of Adam’s right boot. Suddenly, it was the Saints who had the momentum.

A flurry of chances came and went, the pick of the bunch being a fine Curtis Main header. Only Sharp’s fingertips, stretched to their very sinew, kept Dundee in the contest; although they had the air of a team that knew trips to Ayr United, Partick Thistle and Morton were inching ever closer. The St Mirren fans took great delight in reminding their guests of that fact. 

Tempers flared. Adam booted the ball away and screamed at an assistant. He later rifled a free kick straight into the wall. Mullen - fairly - cried foul after being pulled back. Greive went down in the box under a challenge from Ryan Sweeney and David Dickinson waved play on, much to Stephen Robinson’s chagrin. 

Dundee had to do something and, to their credit, they did. With the freedom of a team that had suddenly shaken the shackles of impending relegation lifted, they stormed forward, forcing a string of corners and a fine save from Jak Alnwick when Sweeney got on the end of Adam’s inviting delivery. Minutes later Jordan McGhee crashed an effort against the post; the Saints’ goal was creaking. 

HeraldScotland: Mark McGhee is still to win a match as Dundee manager Mark McGhee is still to win a match as Dundee manager

But much like the first-half, St Mirren went forward with their first attack and scored. You’d be hard pressed to lay the blame solely at the foot of a Dundee door this time but they simply gave Curtis Main too much space. His finish, whacked into the roof of Sharp’s net, was not that of a forward who’d failed to do the same in 27 previous Premiership games. 

There was no way back for Dundee. There likely won't be.