St Johnstone consigned Dundee to their 22nd defeat of a dismal Premiership season.
The Dark Blues were left stuck at the foot of the table with just six games remaining, while it was a comfortable night for the hosts.
Callum Hendry gave Saints the lead on 16 minutes with his first league goal of the campaign on his first start of the season.
Matty Kennedy got the goal his fine play deserved on the hour to double the home team’s advantage and 2-0 is how it stayed.
Once again, there was a worrying lack of response to going behind as Jim McIntyre’s men toiled at McDiarmid Park.
You waited in vain for a flurry of attacks from the Dens men but there was little to get excited about.
Saints made two changes to the team that started the defeat at Motherwell. In came Hendry and Ross Callachan, with Sean Goss and Murray Davidson dropping to the bench.
The visitors went a bit further, bringing in four new faces. They were Darren O’Dea, Paul McGowan, Kenny Miller and Jesse Curran. Out of the team that fell so flat against St Mirren went Gensy Kusunga, Scott Wright, Craig Curran and Andrew Nelson.
On three minutes, Saints midfielder Liam Craig was rather too ambitious when trying to fire home a freekick from 35 yards and goalkeeper Seny Dieng made a comfortable save.
Two minutes later, the home team had the ball in the net only for it to be chalked off for offside. Michael O’Halloran picked out Callachan and, after showing off some good footwork inside the box, he should have scored. Instead, his shot produced a fine stop from Dieng and the ball fell at the feet of Chris Kane, who did finish but watched the flag go up.
Curran broke upfield for the Dens men following a poor setpiece by Saints and made it all the way to the edge of the box before playing in Miller. The veteran striker took a touch before curling in a left-foot shot that had to be pushed away by home keeper Zander Clark.
On 16 minutes, the Dark Blues went from being almost one up to one behind in the blink of an eye.
At one end, Miller had the ball inside the box and moved around Clark. He looked up but couldn’t see a way to goal so Ethan Robson, inside the six-yard box, took over but he couldn’t find the net either.
The danger was cleared by the hosts, who then raced upfield and took the lead. There was a good cross delivered by Richard Foster and Hendry stabbed his shot past Dieng from close range.
Kane should have made it 2-0 to St Johnstone on 23 minutes but produced a fresh-air shot when found by a ball from Callachan.
Dens skipper Martin Woods had a go on the half-hour but his 20-yard strike was superbly saved by Clark, with the ball taking a wicked deflection on the way through to the goalie.
On 33 minutes, everyone was left wondering why it wasn’t another goal for Saints when Matty Kennedy sent over an excellent cross from the left that seemed to pass just inches in front of Hendry.
The hosts finished the half with their noses in front but they should have been pegged back just two minutes after the restart.
Curran did exceptionally well to dig out a cross from close to the right-hand corner flag and his terrific ball was ideal for Robson but he somehow fired over from just six yards out.
Saints had an opportunity on 50 minutes when Scott Tanser’s cross picked out Kane but he headed over from a good position.
Dieng then did well to race out of his goal and get to the ball before Kennedy as St Johnstone threatened again.
After a long passage of play for the Perth men, Kennedy took charge on 58 minutes and lashed in a shot from outside the box that Dieng had to send around the post.
Dundee were inviting the opposition on to them and it was no surprise when Saints made it 2-0 on the hour.
Kennedy had been threatening to score all night and duly did so when he ran into the Dundee box, wheeled to the left past James Horsfield then blasted in a low shot that flew just inside Dieng’s left-hand post.
Dundee had to do something to try to change the direction of the match and they brought on both Nelson and Andrew Dales for Miller and Horsfield on 63 minutes. Saints brought on Davidson for Hendry then on came Craig Curran for the visitors.
Kane came within a whisker of a goal on 74 minutes when he got a flick on to a cross but the loose ball hit visitors’ defender Nathan Ralph and stayed out.
Dundee huffed and puffed in the closing stages but there just wasn’t the fight that you should expect to see from a team in their perilous position.
St Johnstone: Clark, Tanser, Shaughnessy, Kane, Kerr, O’Halloran, Foster, Hendry (Davidson 73), Craig, Callachan, Kennedy (Northcott 90). Subs not used: Bell, Swanson, Comrie, Gordon, Goss.
Dundee: Dieng, Ralph, Woods (C. Curran 76), O’Dea, O’Sullivan, McGowan, Robson, McGowan, Miller (Nelson 63), J. Curran, Horsfield (Dales 63). Subs not used: Parish, Kusunga, Wright, C. Curran, Moore.
Referee: Greg Aitken.