Mikael Mandron played a starring role as St Mirren defeated St Johnstone 2-0 at the SMISA Stadium.

The French striker fired against the post before the ball found the net off the back of visiting goalkeeper Dimitar Mitov to put the hosts ahead late in the first half.

After being unfortunate not to be credited with the opener, there was no doubt about the second goal as Mandron brilliantly dispatched a half-volley into the bottom corner.

St Mirren remain fifth in the table, two points behind Kilmarnock, while St Johnstone’s relegation worries have been heightened, with their advantage over Ross County in the play-off position cut to just two points.

St Mirren started brightly and Mitov did well to make a crucial interception with Mandron bearing down, before then comfortably gathering Caolan Boyd-Munce’s weak effort a few minutes later.

The visitors were showing glimpses of their threat on the counter-attack, though were finding a pivotal final pass hard to come by as they wasted several promising opportunities.

When the opening goal arrived with nine minutes remaining in the first half, it was a moment to forget for Mitov.

Mandron found space 20 yards from the St Johnstone goal and unleashed a low shot that took a deflection off Liam Gordon. Mitov appeared to have done enough to keep it out, but it somehow found the net after striking the post and then the back of the despairing Bulgarian.

The beginning of the second half was delayed by five minutes following technical issues with VAR, but when play resumed the hosts looked to carry on their momentum.

Shortly after the restart, Mitov made a smart double stop to deny Mandron and then Marcus Fraser, before Lewis Jamieson saw his cross land on the top of the St Johnstone goal.

It seemed like only a matter of time before the Buddies extended their lead as they continued to threaten.

Greg Kiltie lashed just wide of the target and Jamieson sent across a tantalising cross that had no takers inside the six yard box.

Their pressure eventually paid dividends with 64 minutes on the clock. The away defence failed to clear their lines and Mandron slammed home brilliantly on the half-volley from inside the box.

It looked as though Kwon Hyeok-kyu had put the game beyond reach when he burst clear and fired past Mitov, but he was denied his first goal for the club after a VAR check deemed he had committed a foul in the build-up.

The small band of travelling St Johnstone fans were witnessing an abject display from their team, and a disappointing afternoon was summed up when Adama Sidibeh was rightfully booked for a theatrical dive in what was a rare venture into the St Mirren box.

Matthew Smith sliced wide as the visitors looked to restore some hope late on, though it would be as close as they would come to a consolation.