Hibs moved up to second in the Scottish Premier League with a dramatic late win at McDiarmid Park.
With the game heading for stalemate, Ben Williams saved Nigel Hasselbaink's penalty and Liam Craig's follow-up.
And Paul Cairney made Saints pay for the miss, firing low under goalkeeper Alan Mannus, with home captain Dave Mackay sent off in injury time.
Craig earlier hit the bar with a rasping free-kick on a frustrating night for hosts.
On a bitterly cold evening in the Fair City, both sides started the match in a cautious fashion and it was no surprise that the first chance came from a set-piece.
Hibs enjoyed a spell of pressure and carved out an opportunity when Leigh Griffiths teed up Eoin Doyle in a central position at the edge of the box, but the Irishman blazed narrowly over.
As the first half wore on, it appeared that the players' creativity had been frozen solid as the ball was given hefty thwacks up and down the field.
Gregory Tade was looking lively for Saints, however, and he was upended by Ryan McGivern at the edge of the box; Mackay taking the resultant free-kick which was deflected over.
The home side were on top as the first half drew to a close and, after Tade won another free-kick 25 yards from goal, Craig hammered the ball off the crossbar, via slight deflection.
Saints started the second half brightly with Tade picking up on a misjudged McGivern header, but his shot from a tight angle flew over the bar.
However, this sparked Hibs into life and they went on to enjoy their best spell of the match, forcing a succession of set-pieces and pushing play deep into the Saints half.
Griffiths whipped a free-kick into the Saints box, but it was whipped in so fast it evaded the head of the diving David Wotherspoon and went into the arms of the grateful Alan Mannus.
Paul Hanlon then met a Griffiths free-kick at the back post, but his header was deflected over the bar for a corner.
After weathering the Hibs pressure, Steven McLean and Rowan Vine both passed up great chances to break the deadlock, shooting tamely at Williams when set up inside the box.
Saints were then given a glorious opportunity to go ahead when Wotherspoon clipped the heels of Mackay inside the box and referee Craig Thomson pointed to the spot.
But Williams dived to his right to parry Hasselbaink's spot-kick and recovered brilliantly to deny Craig.
Manager Steve Lomas, angered by Hasselbaink taking the ball from regular penalty-taker Craig and missing, was shown a red card after his frustration boiled over.
It soon got worse for Lomas's side when Cairney latched on to a loose ball in the penalty area and coolly slotted the ball under Mannus.
The game ended with further sour notes for the home side when captain Mackay was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident in injury time, shortly after substitute David Robertson was stretchered off with a suspected broken leg.
Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.
Nigel Hasselbaink takes a short corner.
90:00 +2:06 Substitution
Substitution Leigh Griffiths leaves the field to be replaced by Shefki Kuqi.
Ryan McGivern takes the free kick.
90:00 +0:18 Dismissal
Dismissal David MacKay dismissed for violent conduct.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ryan McGivern by David MacKay.
Substitution Liam Caddis replaces David Robertson.
Substitution Ivan Sproule on for Paul Cairney.
Corner from the left by-line taken by Liam Craig, Steven Anderson takes a shot. Clearance by Jorge Claros. Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Liam Craig.
The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Ben Williams.
Booking Paul Cairney receives a yellow card.
81:23 Goal scored
Goal! - Paul Cairney - St J'stone 0 - 1 Hibernian Paul Cairney fires in a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. St Johnstone 0-1 Hibernian.
Shot from 12 yards from Liam Craig. Save made by Ben Williams.
Penalty taken by Nigel Hasselbaink saved by Ben Williams. St Johnstone 0-0 Hibernian.
David Wotherspoon challenges David MacKay unfairly and gives away a Penalty.
Substitution David Robertson is brought on as a substitute for Gregory Tade.
Alan Mannus takes the free kick.
Booking Tom Taiwo goes into the book.
Tom Taiwo concedes a free kick for a foul on Murray Davidson.
Liam Craig produces a cross, Ryan McGivern makes a clearance. Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Liam Craig. The offside flag is raised against Gregory Tade. Ben Williams takes the free kick.
Unfair challenge on Gary Miller by Ross Caldwell results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Gary Miller.
Substitution Nigel Hasselbaink is brought on as a substitute for Rowan Vine.
Murray Davidson fouled by Tom Taiwo, the ref awards a free kick. Steven Anderson takes the free kick.
Ross Caldwell produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that goes over the bar.
Substitution Ross Caldwell comes on in place of Eoin Doyle.
Gregory Tade gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Alan Maybury. Free kick taken by Ben Williams.
Rowan Vine takes a shot. Save by Ben Williams.
Corner taken left-footed by Liam Craig, clearance by Ryan McGivern.
The referee blows for offside against Leigh Griffiths. Free kick taken by Alan Mannus.
A cross is delivered by Liam Craig, Rowan Vine takes a shot. Ben Williams makes a save.
Corner taken by Liam Craig, save by Ben Williams.
Booking Frazer Wright shown a yellow card.
David Wotherspoon fouled by David MacKay, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Leigh Griffiths from right by-line, Frazer Wright manages to make a clearance. David Wotherspoon decides to take the corner short.
David Wotherspoon crosses the ball, clearance made by Steven Anderson.
Free kick crossed by David Wotherspoon. Foul by Frazer Wright on Jorge Claros, free kick awarded. Liam Craig gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Wotherspoon. Leigh Griffiths crosses the ball in from the free kick, save made by Ben Williams.
Booking Booking for Gary Miller for unsporting behaviour.
Alan Maybury gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gregory Tade. David MacKay fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick, Lewis Stevenson gets a block in. Corner from left by-line taken by Liam Craig. Unfair challenge on Leigh Griffiths by Gary Miller results in a free kick.
Corner taken right-footed by David Wotherspoon, Ryan McGivern produces a right-footed shot from close range which goes wide of the right-hand post.
The ball is swung over by David Wotherspoon, clearance by Steven Anderson.
Eoin Doyle gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Rowan Vine. Gary Miller takes the direct free kick.
Rowan Vine takes a shot. Blocked by Paul Hanlon.
Gregory Tade produces a left-footed shot from inside the area that clears the bar.
The referee gets the second half underway.
45:00 +1:08 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.
Corner taken by Liam Craig from the left by-line.
Liam Craig shoots direct from the free kick, David Wotherspoon gets a block in.
Booking The referee books Paul Hanlon for unsporting behaviour.
Paul Hanlon concedes a free kick for a foul on Gregory Tade.
Foul by Alan Maybury on Gregory Tade, free kick awarded. Murray Davidson crosses the ball in from the free kick, free kick awarded for a foul by Murray Davidson on Jorge Claros. Ben Williams takes the free kick.
Corner taken right-footed by Rowan Vine.
David MacKay produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick, blocked by Alan Maybury. Corner taken left-footed by Liam Craig.
Booking Booking for Ryan McGivern for unsporting behaviour.
Gregory Tade fouled by Ryan McGivern, the ref awards a free kick.
A cross is delivered by David Wotherspoon.
Unfair challenge on Paul Cairney by Steven Anderson results in a free kick. Ryan McGivern restarts play with the free kick.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Steven MacLean. Free kick taken by Ben Williams.
Gregory Tade takes a shot. Blocked by Ryan McGivern. Liam Craig takes the outswinging corner, clearance made by David Wotherspoon. Corner taken by Liam Craig from the right by-line to the near post, save made by Ben Williams.
The ball is delivered by Gary Miller, Alan Maybury makes a clearance. Corner taken by Liam Craig.
Tom Taiwo gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gary Miller. Liam Craig crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from left wing.
Gary Miller concedes a free kick for a foul on Eoin Doyle. Ryan McGivern restarts play with the free kick.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Gregory Tade. Ben Williams takes the indirect free kick.
Rowan Vine takes a shot. Save by Ben Williams.
The ball is swung over by Gary Miller, save by Ben Williams.
Leigh Griffiths produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty area which goes wide of the right-hand post.
The referee blows for offside against Gregory Tade. Ben Williams takes the free kick.
Steven MacLean takes a shot. Blocked by Ryan McGivern.
Effort on goal by Eoin Doyle from just outside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.
Jorge Claros fouled by Chris Millar, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Paul Hanlon.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Paul Cairney by Murray Davidson. Free kick taken by Ben Williams.
Corner taken left-footed by Liam Craig.
The ball is swung over by Paul Cairney, save made by Alan Mannus.
David Wotherspoon crosses the ball, blocked by David MacKay.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Alan Maybury on Gregory Tade. David MacKay takes the free kick.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Jorge Claros on Gregory Tade. Liam Craig crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right channel.
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