Ray McKinnon’s Dundee United played spoiler as they condemned Jack Ross to defeat in his first game in charge of St Mirren.
Strikes from Scott Fraser and Tony Andreu either side of half-time sealed victory and left the Paisley side rooted to the bottom of the table at the end of the first quarter.
That was of little concern to McKinnon, who was delighted with his team’s performance and their firm defensive showing. He said: “We knew it would be tough today. They’re off the back of two good results and Jack has come in who is a good manager and I knew they’d get a lift from that so it was a big three points for us.
“I thought we were excellent. They threw everything at us in the second half and the guys are learning that they need to dig in and get results in this league.”
The home side were the first to create anything of note in the 14th minute when Ryan Hardie shot wide from the edge of the box.
United were unable to carve out any opportunities until shortly before the break but they were clinical when a chance came their way, Scott Fraser driving into the box after sustained pressure before rifling the ball into the bottom corner.
The second half continued in a similar vein with both sides lacking a cutting edge to their play.
Saints had numerous speculative efforts, with the best coming in the 73rd minute when substitute Lawrence Shankland volleyed from the edge of the area forcing Cammy Bell to produce a good save. The Paisley side were punished for their inability to find the net just moments later as the Arabs extended their lead.
A mix-up between Gary MacKenzie and Jack Baird allowed Simon Murray a shot which was well blocked by Jamie Langfield before an on-rushing Tony Andreu deftly dinked the ball into the net.
United’s Mark Durnan then put a slight dampener on his side’s result as he saw red for a second yellow just three minutes after picking up his first card.
McKinnon added: “I’m gutted about it and gutted for him. He’s done well to get back into the team as well.
“I spoke to him earlier and he said he forgot he was booked earlier in the game.”
New Saints manager Ross was positive about what he saw despite a losing start to his tenure.
He said: “There is a lot more to be pleased about than disappointed. I don’t think I could have asked for any more from them from their commitment and effort to play.
“There were a lot of encouraging things for me in the 90 minutes and if they show that desire in the future matches they’ll be OK.
“I think there are areas that we need to improve upon but we know that. I don’t think we necessarily deserved to lose the game and I think we were competitive in all aspects of the match.”
Ross is confident that the break before the Buddies’ next fixture will prove invaluable as he seeks to put his mark on the team.
He added: “You have to have the balance between implanting my ideas and preparation for the next match, but we are lucky because we have a fortnight now.”