With seven minutes left of their clash with Hibs, St Johnstone were heading into the top six of the Premiership.
Two late goals conceded scuppered that, though.
Instead it was a painful defeat for the Perth men to start a crucial three-game week.
Courier Sport picks out the big talking points from the weekend loss.
Keeping the ball continues to be a problem
That Saturday’s red card was the first of Craig Bryson’s career is quite a tribute to the 35-year-old’s discipline and ability to time a tackle.
There won’t be many central midfielders who navigate over a decade-and-a-half of top level professional football with a comparable record.
We’ll never know if Hibs would have found a way to draw or win with Bryson still on the pitch for the second half.
It would have been a big ask for Saints to see the game out for a 1-0 no matter who the man seeing red had been.
However, Bryson turned out to be the player the hosts could least afford to lose, simply because he was the best they had in the starting line-up (or the substitutes subsequently brought on) at making sure his team could retain possession and get up the pitch.
🎙️ "Ultimately, the sending off cost us the victory."
Callum Davidson says his St Johnstone "could have done better" after they threw away a 1-0 lead and lost 2-1 to Hibernian. pic.twitter.com/pK1SNY2BcT
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) November 27, 2021
Jamie McCart felt the Perth side should have been able to preserve their precarious advantage no matter what.
But when you’ve got players like Scott Allan and Jamie Murphy introduced with unshackled of defensive responsibilities even this cohesive, often impregnable, Saints defence is going to find it exceptionally hard to keep a clean sheet.
The biggest issue for the home team was their inability to string more than two or three passes together and relieve some pressure.
Murray Davidson, Ali Crawford and Cammy MacPherson all struggled to do so and Michael O’Halloran wasn’t much help in that regard either.
The wing-backs have a bit more of an excuse because they were pinned back into what was effectively a second half back-five.
Saints didn’t actually pass the ball well in the first half when they had 11 on the grass – and it was a problem against St Mirren, as well as large chunks of the Hearts and Dundee United matches.
I’ve always thought that a controlling midfielder is a higher priority than a striker in the January transfer window.
Saturday reinforced that opinion.
In the shorter-term, Liam Craig returning to the starting line-up at Dens wouldn’t be the worst idea.
Too early to judge Vertainen
It has taken over four months to get here but Eetu Vertainen has now started a game for St Johnstone.
He did some good things, some not so good things – a six-and-a-half out of 10, maybe.
Had the second half been 11 v 11, Vertainen would have more than likely been given until at least the hour-mark.
Swapping him for Cammy MacPherson was the logical substitution to make at half-time following Bryson’s dismissal.
It was no slight on the Finn’s performance.
As mentioned above, the service from midfield was the biggest outfield issue of the day.
It wasn’t as if chances were being missed. They weren’t being created.
Vertainen may well be at his best, not as a replacement for Chris Kane, but working just behind him.
Either that, or as the left attacker of a front three.
Seven games have been played since Dundee were comprehensively beaten by Saints at the start of October.
And rhythm has undoubtedly been lost.
Two international breaks and several key injuries certainly haven’t help in that regard.
Assessing 14 halves of football, I would say that only two of those (the first against Hearts and Dundee United) could be described as very good ones.
It may well be the case that consistently high standard play may have to wait until the New Year, when some of the Jason Kerr and Ali McCann money is spent and Saints reach the stage of the season they traditionally find their form in.
The base ambition has to be making sure not too much damage is done to their league position before they get there, though.