No sooner had Michel Platini slipped away from the ground, than Andy Dorman conjured up a sublime goal that sent this Scottish Cup quarter-final to a replay next Tuesday night. The Frenchman left with 20 minutes to go and missed Dorman restoring parity in Perth after Liam Craig's first-half penalty.
Platini had exchanged the comfort of the bar at Gleneagles for a cold, raw afternoon in the directors' box. The top man at Uefa had been at the meeting of the International FA Board, along with his Fifa counterpart, Sepp Blatter.
Before driving up to Perth, Platini had killed off the idea of video technology, and as he watched a first half that offered little excitement, the legendary French playmaker must have wondered if his decision to attend needed a second opinion.
St Mirren may have been backed by a raucous 3,000 fans, but they did little to show why they hold SPL status. The hosts, in contrast, had a hunger that was borne of their two semi-final appearances last season which belied their First Division residence. St Johnstone also had an FA Cup winner onside: Jody Morris, the former Chelsea midfielder, on his home debut.
The hosts broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute after fine work initially by Gary Irvine. A quick thrown-in was then cleverly headed on by Steven Milne into the path of Goran Stanic. The left-back's burst into the box was halted by Hugh Murray's clumsiness and that allowed Craig to send Chris Smith the wrong way with his penalty.
Just two minutes later, Peter McDonald almost made it two showing great skill to bring the ball out of the air, while on the run, but his creativity was denied by a vital save from Smith.
Gus MacPherson knew his side had to compete far better in the second half and they did that. Marc Corcoran hit the top of the bar with an inswinging corner and then goalkeper Alan Main punched clear as Corcoran was poised to finish off a header. St Johnstone should have been awarded a penalty when Andy Jackson's shot struck Ian Maxwell on the hand and then the striker was denied by David van Zanten's vigilance, clearing Jackson's header off the line.
MacPherson, gambled by sending on striker Stewart Keane whose very first touch set up the equaliser. Keane's pass via Craig Dargo, released Dorman and the midfielder's burst took him clear before deftly lobbing Main.