St Johnstone secured bragging rights in the Tayside derby with this comfortable win over Dundee – and all but assured their place in the Premiership top six for yet another season.
McDiarmid manager Tommy Wright had demanded a fast start from his team after three successive home defeats and he certainly received the correct response from his players.
Saints were missing injured skipper Steven Anderson who was replaced by Tam Scobbie with Graham Cummins recalled up front.
Dundee were without centre-half Julen Etxabeguren who underwent Achilles surgery on Thursday with Kosta Gadzhalov taking his place in defence.
The home side passed up a great opportunity to open the scoring in just the fifth minute when Steven MacLean crossed from the right to strike partner Cummins standing unmarked six yards from the Dundee goal but his downward header lacked power and was easily gathered by Dark Blues keeper Scott Bain.
However, the goalie was helpless to prevent Saints taking the lead seven minutes later. Joe Shaughnessy hit a great pass from the back all the way to Cummins on the left who played the ball into the danger area for Paul Paton to head home past a helpless Bain from 10 yards for his first goal for the club.
It was a dream start for the home side and it became even better in the 19th minute when MacLean laid the ball off to Blair Alston loitering on the edge of the Dundee box and he rifled the ball low to Bain’s left and into the back of the net.
St Johnstone had another two opportunities just before the break with Bain tipping over a MacLean shot and then Richard Foster going close with an 18-yard drive.
Saints were well worth their lead at the break while Dundee had barely threatened with Zander Clark in the home goal not having to make a save.
Just four minutes after the restart, the goalie finally had to look lively to parry a fierce angled drive from James Vincent.
Paton was in the mood after his rare goal and he tried his luck again from long-range but his shot flew just wide of Bain’s left-hand post.
Dundee toiled away trying to get back into the game but Saints easily soaked up their attempted attacks and continued to look dangerous themselves.
The Dark Blues had a half chance in the 83rd minute when Danny Williams hit a free-kick from the left to fellow sub Faissal El Bakhtaoui but his fierce shot was blocked.
However, it was St Johnstone celebrating as the final whistle was blown.
For full report, reaction and analysis, see Monday’s Courier.