They admitted as much beforehand and their ultimate reaction proved that this was indeed all about revenge for Dundee.
Having suffered recent humiliation at the hands of St Johnstone, Neil McCann’s side savoured getting their own back with a last-gasp victory to allay fears over becoming sucked into a wretched relegation battle.
Still reeling from last month’s Dens Park encounter which saw them thrashed 4-0 by Saints, they went some way to restoring their pride as well as taking a step towards Premiership safety.
Sofien Moussa, their Tunisian striker, eased the mounting pressure for the hosts by claiming a double either side of Steven MacLean’s 85th minute reply for the visitors, with his second of the day coming two minutes from time to seal their first home league win this year.
“I’m so proud of the boys and the biggest feeling is one of sheer satisfaction,” said McCann after seeing his side climb to ninth place in the table. “We’ve beaten St Johnstone three times now this season and on each occasion we’ve deserved to which is all credit to the lads.
“We’ve set ourselves a target of getting 15 points from our final five games so that’s the first box ticked. “
It had all erupted in March when McCann played his part in an ugly post-match bust-up, and he’d stoked things further by a refusing to shake hands with Tommy Wright, the St Johnstone manager, and stating he was not welcome at Dens Park.
Due to being handed a one-match touchline ban earlier in the week, McCann sat in the main stand, leaving assistant boss Graham Gartland to orchestrate things from the sidelines.
Once the talking had stopped, though, Dundee got off to a whirlwind start with an opening goal after 46 seconds.
Kevin Holt’s free-kick was met by Mark O’Hara whose shot from 12 yards came back off the post, and Moussa was on hand to prod home past Saints keeper Zander Clark.
Saints then enjoyed a period of dominance. Jason Kerr released Chris Millar and his cross was brilliantly touched over the bar by home keeper Elliot Parish. Another goal would have given Dundee some much-needed breathing space. It almost came in 44 minutes when Simon Murray’s effort from an acute angle trickled just wide of Clark’s far post, much to the annoyance of the on-loan Hibs striker who was preparing to wheel away in celebration.
Saints did rattle the woodwork in 64 minutes. Chris Millar’s cross was perfect for Joe Shaughnessy whose left-foot volley came crashing back off the bar, before MacLean slammed his finish low into the corner of the net following some poor Dundee defending.
However, Moussa still wasn’t finished. Cammy Kerr’s 60-yard free-kick sailed all the way to the far post where the big striker powered home a thunderous header to send the home supporters wild.
“You can’t defend like we did and that’s what has cost us,” Wright said. “That’s the kind of defending which keeps a manager awake at night.”