Dundee manager Jim McIntyre insists he can steer his Dens Park side to Ladbrokes Premiership safety.
However, with just six games remaining time is not on his side after goals from youngster Callum Hendry and man of the match Matty Kennedy eased St Johnstone to a deserved Tayside derby victory.
The 2-0 setback was a sixth successive loss for the Dark Blues, who squandered chances from striker Kenny Miller and midfielder Ethan Robson before Kennedy’s second half goal.
McIntyre said afterwards: “I’ve still got faith and we’ve not lost any ground. I’ve said all along the five (games) after the split will be huge,” said McIntyre.
“But we saw this as a real opportunity to come to a difficult place. We picked a team we felt could get a result.
“We created chances but couldn’t take them. They showed a ruthlessness to their play and we didn’t.
“We wanted to show a reaction and I felt we did that in terms of how we approached the game. Right now we’re not getting both sides right.
“We need to be better in both boxes. When we are on a run like this it can kill the confidence.
“The players kept at it second half and we got a brilliant chance through Robson. He knows he should score – it was one of the better moves.
“I can’t fault their effort and endeavour but the quality to put the ball in the net and keep it out of the net is where we’ve let ourselves down – and it’s sore.”
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright welcomed a third win of the campaign against his Tayside neighbours, a result which hoisted his side up to seventh.
It turned into a comfortable 90 minutes for a Saints side picking up just their second win in 11 league games since the turn of the year.
Wright got the response he had demanded after his players lost out on the top six with a weekend loss at Motherwell.
“They’ve had a tough time. It was a perfect response. I asked for energy and tempo,” said Wright.
“I knew it would be an open game – with the situation they’re in we knew Dundee wanted to win.
“It was a good team performance and there were good individual performances.
“They’ve had a tough time recently. We’re now sitting on 13 wins, we only had 12 last year. We’re on 44 points – we only had 38 at this stage last year.
“They should be really proud how they’ve picked themselves up.”
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