Michael O’Halloran marked his return to St Johnstone colours in dramatic fashion as his last-gasp winner sealed a 2-1 triumph over Kilmarnock.
Tommy Wright’s team dominated the first-half at Rugby Park and grabbed a deserved lead with David Wotherspoon’s early opener.
But the hosts looked set for an opening day draw when Kris Boyd’s set-piece stunner levelled the game up.
With the seconds ticking down, though, Rangers misfit O’Halloran – making his second debut for the Perth outfit after re-joining on loan from Ibrox last week – burrowed his way into the box to fire home the winner.
St Johnstone had not kicked a competitive ball for a month after their early Europa League exit but shocked Killie with their sharpness from the kick-off.
A close Murray Davidson strike was a warning but Killie were caught cold on 10 minutes.
Graham Cummins did well to hold up play as he waited for support to arrive. Wotherspoon was first on the scene but when Kirk Broadfoot backed off and backed off, the midfielder drove forward and fired high past Jamie MacDonald.
The closest the hosts came during a frankly awful first-half display came when a long ball from debutant Gordon Greer was misjudged by Richard Foster but Chris Burke could only hook into the hands of Alan Mannus.
Broadfoot was looking nervous and almost gifted the visitors a freakish second as he gifted possession to Murray Davidson.
The Saints battler smashed a first-time shot from the centre circle which had MacDonald scrambling before landing on top of the crossbar and bouncing out.
The groans from the home support were starting to mount as Killie again started the second period sluggishly.
But Stefan Scougall’s tug on Jordan Jones presented McCulloch’s men with a free-kick chance on 59 minutes which Boyd emphatically made the most of.
The 25-yard distance made a direct strike look implausible but the veteran hitman took it on nonetheless, rocketing a stunning drive past Mannus for the equaliser.
The introduction of Lee Erwin suddenly gave Kilmarnock some extra impetus up front. He should have scored when slipped in by Boyd with 20 minutes left but the recent recruit from Leeds could not beat Mannus.
Erwin returned the favour moments later but again the Saints keeper came to the rescue as he pushed Boyd’s effort onto the bar.
But just as a draw looked on the cards substitute O’Halloran found a chink in the Killie armour, driving past four defenders before angling a shot into the far corner.