All good things must come to an end and so it proved with St Johnstone’s unbeaten run.
What started nearly two months ago with a victory at Motherwell finished, perhaps aptly, with a 2-1 loss to the Steelmen at McDiarmid Park on Saturday.
Saints had hoped to stretch the sequence to what would have been a record-equalling nine games of top-flight football but, in truth, they just didn’t get going until it was too late.
The home fans should not be too hard on their team, even though it was disappointing that boss Tommy Wright didn’t join previous gaffers Tommy Muirhead, Bobby Brown and John McClelland in the nine-match hall of fame.
Jason Kerr’s headed goal seven minutes from time was just not enough to keep it all going, with Tom Aldred and Danny Johnson scoring for the Lanarkshire side.
Saints also missed another penalty, with Matty Kennedy’s strike saved in the first half.
That third penalty miss of the season contributed heavily to the defeat.
Wright said: “I would like to see it again.
“I don’t know if he (Motherwell keeper Mark Gillespie) has moved but it’s a good save.
“It’s right in the corner but that’s three we have missed (this season).
“Two of those didn’t matter but one did because it would have given us more impetus earlier on in the game.
“It would have given us an hour to get back in the game and your whole mood changes.”
By then Saints were already two goals down.
Indeed, the visitors took a surprise lead after just 99 seconds.
David Turnbull fired over a corner from the left and Tom Aldred stabbed powerfully past keeper Zander Clark.
Just two minutes later, it was 2-0 to the Steelmen.
The ball bobbled about the home box after Liam Grimshaw’s cross came in, before falling for Turnbull just yards out.
He missed a sitter from eight yards but the ball then arrived at the feet of Johnson, who showed great composure to scoop it over Clark and into the net.
The Perth men were then given an early Christmas present on 25 minutes when referee Alan Muir spotted a handball by Well’s Charles Dunne under pressure by David McMillan.
However, the St Johnstone penalty hoodoo struck again when Kennedy’s effort was saved by Gillespie. That made it four misses out of their past five kicks.
The home side kept looking for a breakthrough and it came on 83 minutes.
It was a well-worked goal and Kerr was the scorer.
He climbed the highest to power home a header from eight yards after Kennedy had crossed from the left following a short corner.
There was a big shout for another St Johnstone penalty with four minutes to go when sub Danny Swanson appeared to be budged to the floor by Dunne but ref Muir waved play on and that was that.
Saints midfielder David Wotherspoon felt they were punished for being too slow out of the blocks.
“We’re all disappointed,” he said.
“It was a really slow start from us all that cost us the game.
“It was one of those days where it was a slippery pitch and we just couldn’t prevent the first goal.
“We dug ourselves out and showed character to try and come back but it was too late because they had already set up shop.”
Motherwell scorer Aldred agreed that they didn’t really look back after that early breakthrough.
He said: “We got in behind early and we put in a few set plays and to get on the end of one is a good start.
“There was a long way to go after that but I felt we dealt well with going in front so early.
“When you come here you know what type of game to expect – physical and aggressive.
“Add in the weather conditions and that made it even harder but I felt we won our individual battles.
“We were happy with the performance and now we want to build on it.”
It was Well’s first victory in 10 trips to Perth and manager Stephen Robinson hailed his players for their commitment in terrible conditions.
“We knew it would be tough and scrappy and we picked a team accordingly,” he said.
“I don’t think the weather conditions helped but we have to have a great amount of credit.
“We started the game on fire and scored two early goals and I thought we managed the game really well.
“A tremendous amount of character was shown by the players.
“They dug in, battled in really, really difficult conditions, and the fans that came to support the boys will travel back down really happy because the boys really played for the shirt.”