Stefan Scougall’s strike midway through the second half sealed a 1-0 Ladbrokes Premiership victory for St Johnstone against Hamilton at the Superseal Stadium.
The attacker took advantage of a defensive mix-up between Dougie Imrie and Scott McMann to slot the ball past Gary Woods.
Accies passed up a number of good opportunities, with the best falling to Antonio Rojano in the first half, and their profligacy in front of goal was punished.
Hamilton slipped to ninth in the standings, while St Johnstone remained seventh after picking up their second win on the bounce away from home, but for long periods of the first half it looked like they would come away with nothing.
The hosts headed into this clash with a renewed sense of optimism after going six games unbeaten and picking up both the manager and player of the month awards for November.
Martin Canning’s men dominated the first half, creating a number of opportunities, but were unable to take any which came their way and that was to prove costly.
A glorious chance fell to striker Rojano, but he somehow blazed over from six yards from Imrie’s inviting delivery.
Before that Darren Lyon went close when he latched on to Darian MacKinnon’s lofted chip through the middle. He tried to lift the ball over Zander Clark, but it rippled the roof of the net.
David Templeton, player of the month, was busy buzzing around in the final third. He looked lively, constantly demanding the ball and had a couple of efforts which had Clark worried.
It was a contrasting story for Clark’s opposite number Woods, who was barely troubled in the first period.
Accies continued to threaten after the break, with MacKinnon’s goal-bound effort blocked.
The home fans were becoming increasingly concerned that they might rue those missed chances, and their fears were realised when Saints took the lead on 66 minutes.
It would have rankled more with the hosts that it was a mistake which led to the winner.
There was a breakdown in communication between Imrie and McMann as they left Blair Alston’s through-ball to each other, and Scougall nipped in to capitalise by tucking the ball away from Woods.
Visiting boss Tommy Wright moved to tighten up with Liam Craig replacing Scougall as Accies desperately searched for an equaliser.
Templeton fired over from the edge of the box late on and half-hearted penalty claims from Xavier Tomas waved away by referee Craig Thomson as Saints held on for victory.