With both teams suffering the taste of defeat last week this Tayside derby was a chance for both managers to set their teams seasons back on track.
Peter Houston entered this fixture minus the influential Gary Mackay-Steven after his operation in tuesday, but was able to field Jonny Russell after fending of a deadline day bid for the duo from Huddersfield, under fire St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas again had to reshuffle his defence with Callum Davidson again failing to make the starting line up and Tam Scobbie missing out after becoming a dad through the night and Craig Beattie still not fit to even make the bench, but there was a home debut for loan signing Peter Pawlett.
The early exchanges had the home side well on top as Utd struggled to get out of the blocks but with no real punch to there play the best chance fell to the visitors with neat play between Daly and Russell set up Flood on the edge of the box but his stroke squeezed narrowly wide of Mannus’ post. The Saints were next to threaten with the impressive Vine linking with Tade and Pawlett and it was the latter who skipped in from the right unleashing a powerful shot which Cierniak did well to save.
Utd suffered a blow just after the half hour when full back Watson had to be substituted after failing to recover after being in the wrong end of a 50/50 with Pawlett, unfortunately with the Saints superior passing game a change in defence was a waste of an option Peter Houston could have done without. The home fans were up on their feet just before half time as Dillon clashed with Tade just inside the bid but their screams and that of Lomas fell on deaf ears as referee Collum waved play on.
The second half started and continued much in the same vain as the first, with St Johnstone passing their way through midfield as much as possible and the visitors struggling to get any rhythm to their game. Although both teams could not be faulted for their endeavour but for the attacking skills of the impressive Pawllett and the link up and movement if Vine there was very little in the way of clear-cut opportunities.
With Mackay-Steven sidelined for another five weeks Peter Houston will be hoping that Russell and Daly can notch this as just an off day and get back in the groove after the international break, but for Perth boss Lomas there are positives to take after a shocking start to their season, a much improved performance and with fitness still to be gained by Vine and the long-awaited debut of Beattie the men from Perth should start to gain the points that are expected of them.
St Johnstone: Mannus, Miller, MacKay, Cregg (Adams), Wright, Anderson, Davidson, Pawlett (Hasselbaink), Tade, Vine, Craig.
Subs not used: Tuffey, Moon, McCracken, Moon, Caddis, Rodger.
Dundee United: Cierniak, Dillon, Douglas, Gunning, Flood, Russell, Rankin, Daly (Gardyne), Ryan (Dow), Watson (McLean), Armstrong.
Subs not used: Banks, Millar, Robertson, Gauld.