St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright was left rueing a lack of cutting edge as his side lost 1-0 away at Inverness.
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Just over a month ago they had put four past Inverness Caley Thistle at McDiarmid Park but in the return fixture the Saints struggled to test Dean Brill.
Billy McKay scored the only goal of the game, sliding in to finish Carl Tremarco's shot but, barring another McKay effort that was saved by the visiting stopper Alan Mannus, it was a game light on chances.
Stevie May had them for St Johnstone, a curling effort across the face of goal and a late free-kick straight at the defensive wall but the fact the Inverness goalkeeper was not tested disappointed the visiting boss.
"There was a lack of quality in the final third," he said.
"I don't think it was a lack of effort but you have to compliment them on the way they defended and restricted us to very few opportunities.
"In the last third we did okay but we did not get enough chances or shots away.
"It's always difficult to come here but to lose a goal here early in the manner that we did.
"And I don't think there was a lot between the two teams. The first goal was always going to be vital.
"We said that before the game and it was the same when we played them there."
Inverness' stand-in boss Duncan Shearer was delighted in the role the fans played in getting his side over the line.
The Caley Jags were put under some late pressure from the Saints but the hosts, who are looking to have a new manager in place for the cup tie at home to Morton next week, held on.
"I thought the fans were terrific," he said.
"They knew we were under some pressure at the end and got behind us which was immense.
"I didn't enjoy the game but I was delighted for the back four because they got rubbished about down there (at McDiarmid Park) last time and they were determined that it wasn't going to happen again today.
"They were backed up by the midfield and of course wee Billy (McKay) who got the goal for us. He didn't do much for the rest of the game but I'll take that kind of striker any day."