Liam Craig penalty secures win for St Johnstone at Inverness
Liam Craig's late penalty grabbed St Johnstone a 1-0 win in the Highlands against Inverness.
Both sides struggled to test the goalkeepers and only when Craig was dragged down in the dying moments, converting the resulting spot-kick, did anything meaningful break out.
More should have been made of the man advantage Caley Thistle possessed after Dave Mackay was sent off at the start of the second half, with a resolute Saints side holding them at bay without offering much in attack.
Inverness made one change from the side which lost 2-0 to Kilmarnock, replacing the injured Ross Draper with James Vincent.
St Johnstone made three switches, as John Sutton, Brian Easton and David Wotherspoon came out for Michael O'Halloran, Darnell Fisher and Steven Anderson.
The home side had a few nervy moments early on, Simon Lappin planting a header wide and Owain Fon Williams getting away with a slack clearance, which was hit straight at Steven MacLean and fortunately rebounded straight to the goalkeeper.
Opportunities were scarce though for either side, the closest Inverness came being a through-ball that was narrowly out of Vincent's reach.
Too much of the play was pretty rather than purposeful, particularly from the home side who were struggling to orchestrate any clear chances.
Carl Tremarco had the best chance of a very tepid first half. Ryan Christie's incisive ball found the left-back in behind Joe Shaughnessy and he looked odds-on to get his first Caley Thistle goal. However, the back-tracking O'Halloran got back in time to intervene.
There was more action in the first minute of the second half than the entire opening period, as Mackay was given his marching orders for a lunge on Tremarco which left the full-back requiring treatment.
Mackay's dismissal opened the game up somewhat for Caley Thistle with Vincent and Miles Storey able to stretch the Saints defence in behind.
However, the closest they came in the opening 15 minutes of the second half was a Liam Polworth effort that strayed wide.
St Johnstone removed both strikers in the second half to reinforce themselves defensively but O'Halloran, left to plough a lone furrow up front, was still a regular threat.
He got away from defenders on several occasions and at least tried to get shots in on goal, which was more than could be said for his colleagues.
However, Danny Devine dragged Craig down in stoppage time and the former Hibernian man tucked away the spot-kick to send the visitors back to Perth happy.