Danny Lennon was delighted with the collective effort of his St Mirren side after a Scottish Premier League win at Tannadice heaped further home misery on Dundee United.
"It's a fantastic three points for us and a terrific way to finish 2012," Lennon said. "The key thing for us and our success today was the continuous work-rate for the players individually and, more importantly, as a team."
A Jon Daly penalty and Stuart Armstrong strike cancelled out Paul Dummett's opener to give United a 2-1 half-time lead which evaporated when Steven Thompson netted his fourth goal in three games after 50 minutes.
Marc McAusland put the Buddies in front after 66 minutes before United defender Brian McLean was sent off and a rare David van Zanten goal after 78 minutes completed victory for the visitors. Barry Douglas' 90th-minute free-kick was mere consolation as United's winless run at Tannadice was extended to 10 games.
Right-back Van Zanten's goal was his first in his third season at St Mirren. He celebrated by hitching up his shorts in reference to a charity bet which means he will no longer have to don a Borat-style mankini and sing Madonna's "Like a Virgin" in front of fans. More than £1,000 has already been paid to Yorkhill Hospital in relation to the bet.
Van Zanten, who had not scored since 2006 while he was at Hibernian, said: "I'd had that [the celebration] planned for a couple of months now.
"A couple of them [his team-mates] are raging, but it's more important we got the three points."
United have not won at home since the August defeat of Dundee and their assistant manager Paul Hegarty admitted: "Scoring three goals and coming away with nothing is disappointing.
"The goals we lost today were poor by our standards and it told in the end because we lost the three points. We've had too many games like that at home this year. We can't explain it."
Willo Flood went off midway through the first half with a groin problem and McLean's dismissal means a reshuffle will be required on Wednesday at Aberdeen.
Goals: Dundee: Daly 43 pen, Armstrong 45, Douglas 90. St Mirren: Drummett 16, Thompson 50, McAusland 66, Van Zanten 78