Dundee’s survival is “nigh impossible”, says manager Mark McGhee, after defeat by St Mirren left his side six points adrift with two games to play.
The Scottish Premiership’s bottom side are also seven goals worse off than St Johnstone, who drew with Livingston.
Alex Greive and Curtis Main struck to secure safety for St Mirren.
“What we have to do is go into the last two games trying to keep our pride, trying to keep our fans understanding that we’re still trying,” said McGhee.
St Mirren climb above Aberdeen into ninth place and are eight points clear of St Johnstone, who are set for the play-off.
McGhee’s men started in a positive manner without being able to fashion a chance and were undone by Charlie Adam’s unfathomable mistake.
The midfielder had the ball deep inside his own half on the left under no pressure and played it across the face of goal into the path of Greive, who gratefully collected it and scored.
The goal shifted the momentum to the hosts and Main’s header was kept out only by a superb Harrison Sharp save before Greg Kiltie flashed a shot wide of the Dundee goal.
Conor McCarthy headed Scott Tanser’s teasing delivery over moments later.
Dundee came out refreshed in the second half and Adam showed character by being involved in some of their best moments.
His free-kick was helped on by the head of Ryan Sweeney, bringing out the best in goalkeeper Jak Alnwick.
And an Adam corner prompted a scramble in the St Mirren box with Sweeney forcing the ball forward and Jordan McGhee turning it on to the post.
But, again, St Mirren scored against the run of play. Main peeled off on the left of the box, took down Marcus Fraser’s cross and lashed a shot past Sharp. It was the striker’s first goal since September.
With Glenn Middleton heading St Johnstone in front in Livingston, it looked as though Dundee’s fate was sealed but Jack Fitzwater’s leveller prevented confirmation of the Dark Blues’ demotion.
Man of the match – Curtis Main
What did we learn?
St Mirren put themselves in a much stronger position with last week’s win at St Johnstone and victory against Dundee gave them their first back-to-back wins since February.
Although not their most impressive campaign, the Paisley side have benefitted from a squad full of seasoned Premiership pros and Stephen Robinson has plenty to work with next term.
Dundee’s last win of any kind is still James McPake’s final match in charge – the Scottish Cup defeat of Peterhead on Valentine’s Day.
They now are virtually certain to be relegated and McGhee is still without a victory a dozen matches into his tenure.
What did they say?
St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson: “We did create chances. We probably should’ve scored more. A lot of good aspects. It bodes well going forward. They’ve bought into what we’re doing. We’re starting to see that improvement.
“There are 14 boys I have to pay credit to. They’re playing through injury, through injections. If we can add to the pool that we’ve got then we’ll have a high energy, pressing team that can play good football.”
Dundee manager Mark McGhee: “As long as it’s mathematically possible, we won’t concede but I think it’s nigh impossible.
“Today was a step back. The first half was as bad as they’ve played in half a dozen games. We had loads of time to recover [from the first goal]. That’s more disappointing than the fact that we lost that goal.”
Dundee host Hibernian on Tuesday evening (19:45 BST) and St Mirren’s penultimate match of the season is at home to Livingston on Wednesday (19:45).
- 2TaitBooked at 35mins
- 13GogicBooked at 89mins
- 16ErhahonBooked at 63minsSubstituted forPowerat 77′minutes
- 11KiltieBooked at 50minsSubstituted forFlynnat 82′minutes
- 10MainSubstituted forBrophyat 90+3′minutes
- 21GreiveSubstituted forHendersonat 90+3′minutes
- 5SweeneyBooked at 68mins
- 10McGowanSubstituted forByrneat 66′minutes
- 26AdamSubstituted forMulliganat 61′minutes
- 17McCowanSubstituted forMcMullanat 61′minutes
- 20RuddenSubstituted forAndersonat 74′minutes
- David Dickinson
Match ends, St. Mirren 2, Dundee 0.
Second Half ends, St. Mirren 2, Dundee 0.
Substitution, St. Mirren. Eamonn Brophy replaces Curtis Main.
Substitution, St. Mirren. Jay Henderson replaces Alex Greive.
Attempt missed. Marcus Fraser (St. Mirren) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Alan Power.
Corner, Dundee. Conceded by Joe Shaughnessy.
Attempt missed. Alex Greive (St. Mirren) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right following a fast break.
Jordan McGhee (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Curtis Main (St. Mirren).
Alexandros Gogic (St. Mirren) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Dundee) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Max Anderson.
Cammy Kerr (Dundee) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Richard Tait (St. Mirren).
Attempt missed. Ryan Sweeney (Dundee) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Niall McGinn with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Dundee. Conceded by Alan Power.
Attempt blocked. Niall McGinn (Dundee) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Daniel Mullen.
Shaun Byrne (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Alexandros Gogic (St. Mirren).
Substitution, St. Mirren. Ryan Flynn replaces Greg Kiltie.
Foul by Shaun Byrne (Dundee).