Dundee United will have to overcome St Mirren’s home advantage in the second leg if they are to realise their dream of a return to the top flight.
A near-capacity crowd of 11,062 watched the sides fight out an entertaining 0-0 draw in the Premiership play-off at Tannadice, leaving the tie on a knife edge ahead of Sunday’s showdown second leg in Paisley.
In an even first half, Paul McMullan had the home side’s best chance when he raced into the St Mirren box but saw his low shot stopped.
Kyle McAllister went closest for the Buddies when he cut in from the right and drove his shot towards Benjamin Seigrist’s top corner. However, the Swiss was up to the challenge and punched the ball to safety.
United had the better of the early stages of the second half, with McMullan always posing the greatest threat.
Mihai Popescu kept St Mirren on level terms by hooking the ball off the goal-line just as Peter Pawlett looked poised to head United in front from a corner.
Pavol Safranko was cheered on to the pitch as a substitute for the ineffective Osman Sow, and the Slovakian immediately added new urgency to the United frontline.
However, St Mirren started to exert more influence in midfield and United started to run out of ideas.
United almost claimed victory in the last minute of normal time but Vaclav Hladky was sharp to block Safranko’s deflection of a Jamie Robson cross.