Drey Wright’s dazzling long-range strike earned a point for St Johnstone as they held Kilmarnock to a 1-1 draw at Rugby Park.
The hosts completely dominated in the first half and a touch to the far post by Joe Wright gave them the lead after Kyle Vassell saw a goal disallowed by VAR.
Killie will have been disappointed to only be a goal ahead at half-time, but the Saints improved slightly in the second half and Drey Wright struck into the bottom corner from 25 yards out to secure the tie.
At least one point was enough for the Rugby Park team to move past Ross County to tenth place, while St Johnstone remained eighth in the Premiership.
Kilmarnock’s squad sheet showed three changes from the team that lost to Inverness in the Scottish Cup last weekend. Ash Taylor, Liam Polworth and Luke Chambers all dropped out and were replaced by Jeriel Dorsett, Jordan Jones and youngster David Watson, who was making his first league start.
Saints boss Callum Davidson made just two changes as Andy Considine returned in place of Adam Montgomery and Theo Bair was given the nod ahead of Connor McLennan.
The home side started off on the front foot and Danny Armstrong tested Remi Matthews with an early free kick that he cleared safely.
The St Johnstone goalkeeper made an even better save on 18 minutes, acrobatically scratching the ball after Armstrong was met with a deep cross from Jones at the far post.
The hosts’ dominance continued and they thought they had taken the lead moments later when Vassell hit the ball off the crossbar after another impressive save from Matthews.
Killie’s celebrations were short-lived, however, as referee Chris Graham ruled out the goal for a handball against Vassell after VAR called the monitor.
The Rugby Park side kept pressing and Armstrong had another golden opportunity on 28 minutes. The winger ghosted in at the far post to beat Matthews with a loose ball, but the ball temptingly deflected wide of the left post.
Kilmarnock’s pressure finally showed on 38 minutes when Matthews misjudged a deep cross from Jones, allowing Joe Wright to push home at the far post to give the hosts a first-half lead.
St Johnstone were extremely poor in the first period but got better after the break. Wright had his first shot on goal in the 49th minute when he clipped Sam Walker’s palms from range and Melker Hallberg saw a shot blocked moments later.
Kilmarnock then appealed a penalty when Considine and Joe Wright attempted a cross, but VAR ruled no handball after a delay.
Both sides were struggling to create in a tricky second half until Drey Wright produced a moment of magic on 70 minutes after Liam Donnelly was caught in possession.
Zak Rudden’s opening shot was well blocked, but the ball fell nicely into the side of St Johnstone, who took a touch before firing a low shot through Walker into the bottom corner.
Kilmarnock were convinced Donnelly had been fouled and the home fans were further frustrated in the 79th minute when officials judged a Considine foul on Armstrong to have been marginally outside the box.
Substitute Fraser Murray came close to winning out for the home side, but Matthews poked his low shot as the game ended level.
kilmarnock returns to Scottish Premiership action following the international break at home to hearts April 1
Saint John of Stone are home for aberdeen In the same day. Both games will begin at 3:00 p.m.