On a sizzler of a day in Paisley, it was appropriate that a scorcher of a goal gave Saints a well-deserved first win of the season against Ross County.
The deciding moment came early in the second half from a perhaps unlikely source. As the ball rolled out of the Staggies box, Richard Tait strolled onto it and sent a tremendous shot into the top corner.
Saints had been the better side to that point and could already have been in front, Jonah Ayunga hitting the post in the first half. Unsurprisingly, County rallied after falling behind with Owura Edwards heading against the same post before Trevor Carson made a late save to deny Olaigbe and secure the victory.
Both sides went into this one looking for their first points of the season and it was the Buddies who made the brighter start, Ryan Strain fashioning a chance for himself but failing to find the target from 20 yards before sending in a tantalising cross that Curtis Main couldn't quite get on the end of. Moments later Keanu Baccus did brilliantly to win the ball back and play in Jonah Ayunga, the forward getting in a shot from the edge of the box that got the better of keeper Ross Laidlaw but not the woodwork as it smacked the far post and bounced away.
Ross County hadn't threatened at all in the opening half hour but it needed good tackling from Charles Dunne to keep out Owura Edwards and Dominic Samuel as the visitors made rare attacks. Edwards had a better chance at the end of some neat County passing but could only kick the ball off his face before it was cleared behind for a corner. Saints could have been in front just before the break, Strain releasing Baccus to burst through to the edge of the box but he couldn't keep his shot down and Laidlaw watched it sail a yard or two over the bar.
The Buddies continued on the front foot in the second half and took the lead in spectacular fashion. Baccus won possession and again charge forward but opted to pass rather than shoot. His team-mates seemed to be in a similar quandary as the ball bounced around the box before falling to Richard Tait 20 yards from goal. He was in no doubt about what to do and curled a tremendous first time shot beyond the reach of Laidlaw into the top corner.
Eamonn Brophy and Mark O'Hara replaced Main and Greg Kiltie before Ayunga fired over from the edge of the box. As the clock ticked down Joe Shaugnessey's header from Strain's corner was easy for Laidlaw – probably a relief for the County keeper after his mis-control had given away the set-piece in the first place. Opposite number Trevor Carson had virtually been a spectator all afternoon but was finally called into action with just a couple of minutes, reacting brilliantly to keep out Olaibe's deflected shot. It was to prove the Staggies' final chance, Saints comfortably seeing out stoppage time to pick up a fully merited three points.
Richard Tait celebrates after his stunning strike gave Saints the lead (Image: Allan Picken)
County initially struggled to muster a response but should have been level after an hour when a wonderful cross from Callum Johnson found the unmarked Owura but his diving header rattled the post, much to the relief of the home support. The Staggies were beginning to get into gear, Josh Sims seeing a shot blocked before sub Jordan White sent the rebound over the bar. The pressure continued with a series of corners that eventually ended when Ross Callachan sent a shot well wide of the far post.
Eamonn Brophy and Mark O'Hara replaced Main and Greg Kiltie before Ayunga fired over from the edge of the box. As the clock ticked down Joe Shaugnessey's header from Strain's corner was easy for Laidlaw – probably a relief for the County keeper after his mis-control had given away the set-piece in the first place. Opposite number Trevor Carson had virtually been a spectator all afternoon but was finally called into action with just a couple of minutes, reacting brilliantly to keep out Olaigbe's deflected shot. It was to prove the Staggies' final chance, Saints comfortably seeing out stoppage time to pick up a fully merited three points.
Full-Time: St Mirren 1-0 Ross County
St Mirren: Carson, Fraser, Shaughnessy (c), Dunne, Strain, Baccus, Erhahon (Flynn 87), Kiltie (O'Hara 69), Tait, Ayunga (Greive 90), Main (Brophy 69)
Subs Not Used: Urminsky, Kenny, Henderson, Olusanya, Offord
Ross County: Laidlaw, Johnson, Baldwin, Iacovitti, Purrington (Harmon 46), Cancola (Dhanda 77), Callachan, Owura, Sims (Paton 86), D.Samuel (White 46), Hiwula (Olaigbe 59)
Subs Not Used: Eastwood, Loturi, Watson, Tillson
Referee: Grant Irvine
Assistant Referee: David Roome
Assistant Referee: Gary Hilland
Fourth Official: Don Robertson