Callum Davidson was a relieved man after his St Johnstone side finally got the breakthrough against St Mirren to earn his first home win as manager.
St Johnstone dominated but passed up a series of chances and found visiting goalkeeper Jak Alnwick on top form.
Davidson feared another sting in the tail after suffering late goals in consecutive 1-0 home defeats by Aberdeen and Hibernian.
So he was able to breathe easier when substitute Stevie May slid in to convert Craig Conway’s low cross in the 72nd minute and earn a well-deserved 1-0 win.
“When we scored it was a feeling of relief more than anything because we’d created so many chances,” Davidson said.
“You have to credit the players, they were excellent. After suffering the disappointment of the last two games it could have been easy for the heads to go down, but they didn’t let that happen.
“They showed great character and that bodes well for the rest of the season.
“I was delighted with the performance, we played really well, got into good areas and created a lot of opportunities.
“We moved the ball quickly, we were sharp and we got down the sides of St Mirren for most of the game.
“Sometimes you wonder if it’s going to be the same again, creating chances but not scoring. So I was delighted to get the goal when Stevie came on.”
St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin admitted his team were way off their early-season standards.
With Joe Shaughnessy suspended, Goodwin started with three at the back but changed to a back four and then made a 38th-minute substitution to replace Kyle McAllister with Cammy MacPherson.
He was forced into two more changes with Junior Morais and Marcus Fraser picking up thigh injuries and had to revert to a back three.
But none of the changes made much difference and it took them almost 80 minutes to muster a shot with Elliot Parish not seriously troubled.
Goodwin said: “We were extremely poor in the first half, we never laid a glove on St Johnstone. We never did basics right all afternoon.
“There was a slight improvement second half, as you’d expect, because we couldn’t have played any worse, that’s for sure.
“But St Johnstone thoroughly deserved the three points.”
Goodwin added: “We had to shuffle the pack with Joe Shaughnessy being out. We wanted to try to be offensive and get at St Johnstone, we played with two strikers and with Kyle McAllister in the hole, hoping to get him on the ball and exploit the space.
“But quite simply it never panned out that way.
“That was nowhere near good enough, the standards we have set in our opening games are far higher than what we showed.”