St Johnstone ended a run of five matches without a win in stunning style to knock Inverness Caledonian thistle off the top of the Premiership.

The opener came through Stevie May's finish from Gary McDonald's cross.

May then turned provider, Dave Mackay striking home from the centre of the penalty area.

And Steven MacLean benefitted from two more May assists to net Saints' third and fourth goals in the second half as the visitors toiled in Perth.

The hosts' first victory since a 4-0 rout against Ross County was another emphatic win for manager Tommy Wright and deserved a bigger audience than the 3,020 inside McDiarmid Park.

For Inverness, their second defeat of the season drops them down to second, three points behind Celtic and seven ahead of sixth-place Saints.

St Johnstone's play was quick and slick straight from kick-off and they deservedly went ahead when Caley Thistle could not cope with the superior passing and movement that led to May stabbing home his seventh goal of the season.

That lead was doubled when a carbon copy build-up again opened up the Inverness defence and Mackay burst through for a shot which goalkeeper Dean Brill got a hand to but could not keep out.

Caley Thistle blasted out of the blocks at the start of the second half to try to turn things around but it was St Johnstone who threatened again with a Nigel Hasselbaink shot which was tipped over the bar by Brill.

And there was a similar save at the other end from Alan Mannus to deny Aaron Doran's 25-yard effort.

St Johnstone put the match out of the reach of Inverness when 20-year-old May picked out MacLean at the edge of the penalty box and he placed a shot into the corner of the net.

And MacLean struck again to complete the scoring. It was all down to the persistence of the outstanding May, who won a tussle with Graeme Shinnie at the corner flag and knocked the ball across goal for MacLean to tap.

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

St Johnstone

  • 01 Mannus
  • 19 Miller
  • 02 Mackay
  • 24 Easton
  • 05 Wright
  • 07 Millar
  • 08 McDonald (Davidson - 83' )
  • 11 Hasselbaink (Edwards - 71' )
  • 10 Wotherspoon (Brown - 86' )
  • 17 May
  • 09 MacLean Booked

Substitutes

  • 04 Cregg
  • 14 Edwards
  • 20 Brown
  • 15 Banks
  • 03 Scobbie
  • 18 Davidson
  • 27 Fallon

Inverness Caledonian Thistle

  • 12 Brill
  • 14 Devine
  • 03 Shinnie
  • 05 Warren
  • 06 Meekings
  • 11 Ross (Watkins - 70' )
  • 08 Draper
  • 10 Doran Booked
  • 20 Polworth (Agdestein - 75' )
  • 09 Foran Booked (Williams - 89' )
  • 07 McKay

Substitutes

  • 22 Cooper
  • 15 Watkins
  • 19 Williams
  • 18 Tremarco
  • 17 Greenhalgh
  • 23 Agdestein
  • 01 Esson
Ref: Steven McLean
Att: 3,020

Match Stats

Shots

18 5

On target

11 1

Corners

6 3

Fouls

10 11

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, St Johnstone 4, Inverness CT 0.

90:00 +2:09 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, St Johnstone 4, Inverness CT 0.

90:00 +0:48

Murray Davidson (St Johnstone) wins a free kick on the right wing.

90:00 +0:48

Foul by Marley Watkins (Inverness CT).

89:46

Murray Davidson (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

89:46

Foul by Ross Draper (Inverness CT).

88:40 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Inverness CT. Danny Williams replaces Richie Foran.

88:24

Foul by Steven MacLean (St Johnstone).

88:24

Gary Warren (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

86:24

Steve May (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

86:24

Foul by Gary Warren (Inverness CT).

85:55 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, St Johnstone. Scott Brown replaces David Wotherspoon.

82:58

Attempt saved. Steve May (St Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

82:08 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, St Johnstone. Murray Davidson replaces Gary McDonald.

81:03 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! St Johnstone 4, Inverness CT 0. Steven MacLean (St Johnstone) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Steve May with a cross.

80:12

Attempt saved. Steve May (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

78:00

Steven MacLean (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

77:56

Foul by Torbjorn Agdestein (Inverness CT).

75:18 Booking

Booking Steven MacLean (St Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.

75:00

Ross Draper (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

74:58

Foul by Steven MacLean (St Johnstone).

74:21 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Inverness CT. Torbjorn Agdestein replaces Liam Polworth.

73:53

Attempt missed. Liam Polworth (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

72:50 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! St Johnstone 3, Inverness CT 0. Steven MacLean (St Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Steve May.

71:47

Attempt missed. Richie Foran (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

70:10 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, St Johnstone. Gwion Edwards replaces Nigel Hasselbaink because of an injury.

69:54 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Inverness CT. Marley Watkins replaces Nick Ross.

66:48

Attempt missed. Steve May (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

63:53

David Mackay (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

63:53

Foul by Nick Ross (Inverness CT).

61:58 Booking

Booking Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) is shown the yellow card.

61:54

Steven MacLean (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

61:54

Foul by Aaron Doran (Inverness CT).

60:23

Attempt missed. Steve May (St Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

59:58

Attempt saved. Steve May (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

56:25 Booking

Booking Richie Foran (Inverness CT) is shown the yellow card.

56:18

Frazer Wright (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

56:18

Foul by Richie Foran (Inverness CT).

52:15

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Alan Mannus.

51:58

Attempt saved. Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

49:43

Foul by Gary McDonald (St Johnstone).

49:43

Ross Draper (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

48:20

Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Daniel Devine.

47:34

Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Dean Brill.

47:15

Attempt saved. Nigel Hasselbaink (St Johnstone) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner.

45:00

Second Half begins St Johnstone 2, Inverness CT 0.

45:00 +1:18 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, St Johnstone 2, Inverness CT 0.

45:00 +1:01

Attempt saved. David Wotherspoon (St Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

45:00 +0:14

Steve May (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00 +0:14

Foul by Richie Foran (Inverness CT).

37:57

Attempt blocked. Steve May (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

36:32

Attempt missed. Liam Polworth (Inverness CT) right footed shot from very close range is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

35:44

Foul by Chris Millar (St Johnstone).

35:44

Liam Polworth (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

34:42

Foul by Gary McDonald (St Johnstone).

34:42

Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick on the left wing.

32:21

Foul by Steven MacLean (St Johnstone).

32:21

Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

31:40

Attempt saved. Gary McDonald (St Johnstone) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the centre of the goal.

30:32

Steven MacLean (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

30:22

Foul by Josh Meekings (Inverness CT).

30:01

David Wotherspoon (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

30:01

Foul by Ross Draper (Inverness CT).

29:26

Foul by Chris Millar (St Johnstone).

29:26

Liam Polworth (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

28:27

Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Josh Meekings.

28:17

Attempt blocked. Steven MacLean (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

27:44

Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Josh Meekings.

26:15 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! St Johnstone 2, Inverness CT 0. David Mackay (St Johnstone) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Steve May.

25:00

Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

24:54

Foul by Steven MacLean (St Johnstone).

24:25

Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Gary Warren.

24:13

Attempt blocked. Steve May (St Johnstone) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

20:22

Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

20:14

Foul by Chris Millar (St Johnstone).

19:52

Attempt missed. Steve May (St Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

18:54

Steve May (St Johnstone) wins a free kick on the right wing.

18:54

Foul by Ross Draper (Inverness CT).

17:18 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! St Johnstone 1, Inverness CT 0. Steve May (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Gary McDonald with a cross.

15:06

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Frazer Wright.

13:08

Attempt saved. Gary McDonald (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

12:32

Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Graeme Shinnie.

10:54

Attempt missed. Brian Easton (St Johnstone) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high.

7:24

Attempt missed. Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right.

6:24

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Gary Miller.

1:53

Hand ball by Steven MacLean (St Johnstone).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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