Hampden to Hamilton was quite the drop-off in terms of what was at stake for St Johnstone.
But even though the Betfred Cup winners didn’t get the result they needed to become serious Premiership top six contenders, there was no drop-off in their application.
Saints fell behind to a stunning first half goal, scored by one of their former players, Ross Callachan.
It was undeserved at the time but looked to be enough for the hosts to secure a much-needed victory in their relegation battle.
A refusal to lose is a precious trait in any side and this one sculpted by Callum Davidson has it.
Guy Melamed came up with an 88th minute equaliser to keep their opponents nine points behind them in the table.
As far as the top six battle is concerned, they are five off St Mirren with just two games left to play – more than likely too high a bar.
It’s impossible to quantify how significant the ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ factor was for Saints.
But manager Callum Davidson was clearly mindful of the possibility.
As such, it was no surprise to see the McDiarmid Park boss freshen his team up given the short gap between fixtures.
There were four changes, with Melamed, Stevie May, Scott Tanser and Craig Bryson coming in and Callum Booth, Ali McCann, Craig Conway and Chris Kane dropping out. Kane wasn’t even on the bench due to an injury sustained in training.
Saints spent the first five minutes unable to get out of their own half through a combination of their own sluggishness and Hamilton’s tenacity.
It didn’t take them long to find their rhythm and take a grip of the game, though.
On 12 minutes there was a slick triangle of pass and move football inside the Accies box involving Shaun Rooney, May and Bryson that resulted in a corner.
From the dead ball, Liam Craig picked out Tanser at the edge of the box. The Englishman couldn’t have struck his volley any sweeter and it rocketed just past the post.
Saints switched the point of attack from left to right six minutes later and when Rooney fed the ball into May’s feet he combined nicely with Melamed, whose low left foot shot forced a fine save out of Ryan Fulton.
There were a few other decent chances in the opening half-hour. A Jason Kerr back post header that soared over the bar was one and a Melamed shot on the turn another.
The Perth men were punished for their failure to convert that dominance into a goal when Callachan curled a 25-yard wonder strike into Zander Clark’s top corner on 36 minutes.
It was Hamilton’s only shot on target in the half but enough to see them into the break in front.
Saints started the second half briskly and Melamed was unlucky to see a net-bound diving header three minutes after the re-start kept out by Fulton.
There was a big blow for Davidson when man of the moment Rooney hobbled off moments later after picking up an injury to the back of his knee. He was replaced by James Brown.
Hamilton’s chief threat remained Callachan’s right boot and when the ball broke nicely for him 20 yards out he would have been disappointed that he didn’t at least hit the target.
His team-mate, David Moyo, came a lot closer just before the hour mark when he rattled the top of Clark’s left hand post with a fierce shot from just inside the box.
Saints were struggling for fluency in attack and Davidson made a double substitution on 66 minutes in an attempt to sort that out – Michael O’Halloran and Glenn Middleton for May and Bryson.
It didn’t have the desired effect and, if anything, the contest became even more stop-start thereafter.
It was a sign of Saints’ frustrations when Craig lashed a speculative effort from distance well over the bar.
The match seemed to have 1-0 home win written all over it until Melamed came up with an 88th minute leveller – a classy touch and finish from a long Liam Gordon ball.
Neither team was happy to settle for the draw – for different reasons – but there weren’t any more clear-cut chances and 1-1 it finished.