Motherwell suffered a late, late blow as St Johnstone scored at the death to defeat the 10 men at McDiarmid Park.
Christopher Kane’s goal at the death gave all three points to the hosts in stoppage time, as the visitors desperately clung on after the dismissal of substitute Christy Manzinga for a second bookable offence.
Callum Hendry had opened the scoring for the Saints in the first half, before Christopher Long levelled with an opportunistic long-range effort.
Manager Stephen Robinson made one change from the team which drew 1-1 at St Mirren in the Scottish Cup at the weekend, with Allan Campbell replacing Liam Polworth in midfield.
Both sides had big chances in the opening exchanges. Long saw a shot from outside the box fizz past the left post, while Hendry saw a fierce cross bounce off him and go behind from close range.
With 27 minutes gone, St Johnstone had the lead. Mark Gillespie’s ball out to Liam Donnelly was seized upon in midfield, setting Hendry on his way to goal. His initial effort was blocked but fell kindly back into his path as he broke into the area, before firing past the goalkeeper into the bottom right corner.
Five minutes later, Motherwell were level in strange circumstances. An attempted ball through to Allan Campbell was blocked on the edge of the area and bounced clear.
Sensing an opportunity, Long swept a snap shot back towards goal from 30 yards. Goalkeeper Zander Clark got caught in two minds as the ball rolled under him and off the left-hand post.
With the ball almost appearing to move in slow motion, it rolled along the line and finally ended up in the goal to bring Motherwell level.
Motherwell finished the first half brighter but the second was a different story, as St Johnstone dominated affairs.
Manzinga – on as a substitute – was booked for hauling down Anthony Ralston and then saw his second yellow soon after. Bursting into the box between the bodies, he fell to the ground and was ruled to have dived by referee Nick Walsh, leading to his dismissal.
Motherwell held on in the face of relentless pressure and looked to have held on for the point that would send them back to third in the Premiership table. But there would be late heartbreak as Kane stole in ahead of Hartley from a cross from the right to take the points at the death.