St Johnstone needed one point from this meeting with Aberdeen but took all three thanks to a first-half Callum Hendry goal. It means they avoid the ignominy of a nervous final day – this result means that Dundee are officially confined to Championship football next season – but the dispelling of anxiety in Perthshire last night is a mere a stay of execution.

St Johnstone still have a play-off to negotiate in order to hang on to their top flight status with Callum Davidson’s side now facing the winners of the Arbroath v Inverness game in the first leg of the Premiership play-off next Friday night.

It has been a wretched season for both of these sides with neither having much to celebrate. There was relief from the home support at full-time and an appreciation of the victory but in truth there has been precious little to celebrate this term. Considering last season’s domestic Cup success, cheering the avoidance of automatic relegation seems like a hollow return.

Still, Davidson has urged his players to use the win last night as the catalyst to rouse themselves for the finale now to their season as they prepare for the play-offs.

“We were five or six points behind Dundee at one stage,” he said. “We still have 180 minutes of football to go, so if we can play like that and put whoever it is under pressure, we need to make sure we use that pressure and stay in this league.

“We want to stay in the league, we’re desperate to stay in the league. I think you saw that tonight.

“Tuesday night’s Dundee result put a lot of pressure on us. There were some people saying: ‘Yeah, we’re in the play-offs’. But Dundee winning by a couple of goals meant this was a game where we had to perform under pressure.”

Aberdeen had looked the more menacing of the two teams in the opening stages of this encounter but it was St Johnstone who got the goal to settle their nerves.

Glenn Middleton, who had sent a fizzing effort just wide of Joe Lewis’ post just a few minutes earlier, was the architect of the goal as his cutback from the right fell perfectly to the feet of Callum Hendry. The striker’s first touch was to direct the ball well beyond of the reach of Lewis to ease some of the tension around MacDiarmid Park.

Emboldened by the goal, St Johnstone almost doubled their advantage when Middleton whipped in a swirling 25-yard free-kick that Lewis had to tip over the bar.
Aberdeen enjoyed ample possession but struggled to make it count in the final third.

With striker Christian Ramirez back in the United States, the weight of expectation in that sense fell to 20-year-old forward Michael Ruth who would point to very little service for him to work with.

The fatigue that Ramirez is suffering from seemed endemic in this Aberdeen display as the

Indeed, Zander Clark, the St Johnstone goalkeeper, finished the game without having a save of note to make.

The stopper, however, had to look sharp to race out of his box to prevent Vicente Besuijen from getting on the end of a long ball from Barron but it was one of a number of pedestrian Aberdeen performances this season with the Pittodrie side rarely offering any bite up front.

"The game sums up how our season has been,” lamented Jim Goodwin. “We have had plenty of the ball but have not done enough to cause St Johnstone any problems.

"I am not going to say that the players didn't care or didn't give their all. They did. We conceded a really poor goal. Joe Lewis hasn't had a whole lot to do - neither he nor

"Zander Clark had much to do. As soon as St Johnstone got the goal we knew they would put ten men behind the ball.”