East Fife’s determined part-timers held firm to claim a fully merited Betfred Cup point at Perth.
But they lost out on a bonus point in a penalty shootout, with former Saints winger Craig Thomson the only one to miss from the spot as the Premiership side converted all five.
With just Drey Wright and Tony Watt brought in over the summer, on the evidence of this tie against stout League One opponents manager Tommy Wright will be seeking reinforcements before the league campaign begins.
For all their possession, his team rarely troubled Fifers keeper Brett Long.
A frustrating Saints performance didn’t live up to the early promise of a flowing fifth minute move which dissected the visitors’ defence.
Wright’s cross was laid back into the path of David McMillan by Stefan Scougall but the former Dundalk centre forward was thwarted by a late lunge which took the sting out of his shot.
While they were being pressed back in the opening period, the Fifers almost shocked the top-flight side in the 21st minute with a penetrating attack.
Winger Craig Thomson’s delivery from the right was powered on target by the head of striker Scott McBride but keeper Zander Clark reacted instinctively to beat away his powerful attempt.
Home midfielder David Wotherspoon fancied his chances with a 25-yard free-kick with the half hour approaching but his curling effort edged inches past the post. Then defender Liam Gordon headed over the target from Scougall’s cross into the penalty area.
In the 61st minute the combination of ex-Saint Thomson and McBride again posed a threat for the home defence on the counter but this time the centre’s header looped over the crossbar.
Manager Wright pitched in Watt and Chris Kane with half an hour remaining but while Kane found the side net and Watt had a header bundled clear, Saints were profligate and the Fifers remained resolute.