Still without a victory in the 12 matches he has now overseen since his appointment as manager in February, Mark McGhee now needs a turnaround of miraculous proportions in the final two games of the campaign to avoid the drop.
It was an especially painful afternoon for Dundee captain Charlie Adam whose inexplicable fourth minute error gifted Alex Greive the opener for St Mirren who made sure of maximum points through Curtis Main’s second half strike.
It means St Mirren have now officially ensured their current residency in the top flight of Scottish football will be extended into a fifth year.
Dundee will be making a rapid return to the Championship unless they can win both of their remaining fixtures and 11th-placed St Johnstone lose both of theirs with a seven-goal swing in goal difference along the way.
No matter how many times he might be able to stomach reviewing the footage of his aberration, Adam will struggle to make sense of it.
Taking possession inside his own penalty area, he had several opportunities to clear the ball upfield as he shuffled his way along the line.
Instead, he opted to turn back inside and play the ball back across the six-yard box. With Dundee’ keeper Harry Sharp left as gobsmacked as the traveling fans behind his goal, Greive seized upon the wholly unexpected opportunity to ram the ball home from close range.
Dundee struggled to regain their composure afterwards and could consider themselves fortunate not to be further behind before the break.
St Mirren were by far the more cohesive and threatening side – Main forced a fine save from Sharp with a header before Greg Kiltie came close with a low shot on the turn from the edge of the box.
As they maintained the pressure, the hosts also had a strong penalty claim turned down when Greive went down under Ryan Sweeney’s challenge.
Dundee made a brighter and more purposeful start to the second half as they set about trying to salvage their increasingly desperate plight and they came agonizingly close to an equalizer which might just have altered the momentum of the afternoon.
During a spell of sustained pressure, which saw Alnwick make a brilliant one-handed save to keep out a Sweeney header, the St Mirren defense got themselves in all kinds of trouble trying to clear a wickedly delivered corner from Adam.
In the scramble, Jordan McGhee stabbed a shot against a post before Alnwick was finally able to gather the ball.
It proved to be a pivotal moment as St Mirren strengthened their grip on the contest with their second goal in the 55th minute.
Main can hardly be described as prolific – this was only his fourth of the season and first since September – but he won’t have scored many better. Receiving the ball on the left edge of the penalty area, the English forward rifled an unstoppable left foot shot high beyond Sharp into the roof of the net.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.