Chris Kane scored a quickfire first-half brace as St Johnstone claimed a 3-1 Scottish Premiership victory over Dundee in a dominant display from the hosts in the Tayside derby.
Kane bagged his double inside an nine-minute period in the opening period before Stevie May put any possible Dundee comeback to bed early in the second half.
The visitors netted a consolation through Ryan Sweeney with 15 minutes left to end an unwanted record of five scoreless games.
It was a victory fitting for Liam Craig, who became St Johnstone’s record appearance holder – beating Steven Anderson – in featuring for the 442nd time. Craig was rewarded for his outstanding achievement with the captain’s armband for the day.
The home side took the lead after 31 minutes as Shaun Rooney detected Michael O’Halloran in space on the right-hand side before he found Kane, who blasted an excellent first-time effort into the net.
Kane made it 2-0 nine minutes later after David Wotherspoon cut the Dundee defence open from the right, May finding space before sending a lovely delivery across goal to give the goalscorer his brace.
St Johnstone continued their dominance early in the second half and May turned from provider to goalscorer 45 seconds after the restart to extend the hosts’ lead further.
Dundee were found exposed again on the right flank and O’Halloran found May, who picked out the bottom corner with a cute finish.
Proceedings then began to hit a lull, but the home side were in search for more as Rooney chanced a speculative 35-yard effort which goalkeeper Adam Legzdins gathered with ease.
Rooney was unlucky not to score from a set-piece, as he had at Dens Park in the corresponding fixture 10 days ago, as his stinging header towards goal was cleared off the line by Paul McGowan.
Dundee pulled a goal back after 74 minutes, ending a goal drought stretching back five matches.
Paul McMullan delivered from the left to find Sweeney, who rose well to guide the ball beyond the reach of Zander Clark for Dundee’s first goal at McDiarmid Park since December 2017.
The visitors continued to ask St Johnstone questions in an attempt to retrieve something from the match in the closing stages.
A McMullan cross from the left found Cammy Kerr, who sent a downward header towards goal but Clark pushed the ball past the side-netting to the relief of St Johnstone who moved up to eighth, while their opponents remain rooted to the bottom of the table.
What the managers said
St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: “I think some of the football, especially in the last 15 to 20 minutes of the first half was really good.
“I thought the first goal was superb. Shaun Rooney started the build-up finding O’Halloran before finding Chris Kane, who tucked away with a fantastic finish.
“Chris Kane is in the team to score goals and he did that today. I was delighted for him. We scored three really good goals which is a positive.
“Dundee were chasing the game in the latter stages which opened up more space for us and I was delighted that we killed the game off before half-time.
“Michael O’Halloran gives you a threat down the right side and it was great that we were able to expose Dundee down that side and we were proactive.
“I know he will come in and cause opposition defences problems and he did that all game, we have been attacking from the left in recent times through David Wotherspoon and Callum Booth so it’s great to see a change in transition.”
Dundee manager James McPake: “I felt sorry for Dave [Mackay], Martin [Hardie] and the coaching staff in what is the same old story.
“After the first goal went in we looked a beaten side afterwards. We have a lot to work on in the next fortnight with the aim of putting our predicament right.”