Dundee United made it four Premiership games unbeaten with a battling but uninspiring performance in a goalless draw at St Mirren.
The result means the Tangerines remain fifth in the standings, with Swiss stopper Benjamin Siegrist keeping his third clean sheet in four matches.
It was a game of few clear-cut chances, as the Terrors racked up their third stalemate of the season, but the hosts dominated in horrendous fog conditions in Paisley.
Buddies dominate first half as Terrors defend stoically
United were unchanged from last Saturday’s 2-1 win over Ross County, while it was the hosts’ first match in almost four weeks after a Covid outbreak hit the Buddies’ squad.
Jim Goodwin handed a debut to former Aston Villa kid Jake Doyle-Hayes while ex-Tangerines’ left-back Brandon Mason also made his Saints bow.
The opening moments in Paisley were scrappy, with neither side able to settle down. However, it was United who showed the most attacking intent in the initial 10 minutes.
The hosts were the first to have a real sight of goal, though, as Ian Harkes fouled Mason on the edge of the United box.
Cammy MacPherson stepped up to take the free-kick just outside the D but could only smash his curled effort into the wall on 11 minutes.
Miscommunication between goalkeeper Siegrist, Mark Reynolds and Jamie Robson led to the concession of a corner moments later. However, the Buddies squandered the opportunity.
St Mirren controlled possession and territory for most of the first half. However, United had the first shot on target on 16 minutes with a raking Harkes drive from 25 yards forcing a simple save out of Jak Alnwick.
A minute later, Mason picked out Jamie McGrath wide open in the Terrors box. Reynolds threw himself at the Irishman’s effort, with Robson diverting Richard Tait’s follow-up out for a corner.
A Kristian Dennis header drifted harmlessly wide after good work from Tait on the right wing to pick the forward out.
Marcus Fraser was operating well as an attacking centre-back for the home side as they overloaded the right wing and penned the Tangerines in their own half for large portions of the opening period.
United came back into the contest on the half-hour mark as Peter Pawlett won a free-kick in a dangerous area on the left.
Nicky Clark swung in a whipped delivery which big defender Ryan Edwards was inches away from getting on the end of as the ball evaded everyone and trundled behind.
St Mirren continued to look the most likely to break the deadlock but every cross fired in from the flanks was hitting the first man – much to Goodwin’s frustration.
The Terrors were defending stoically, though, and continued to look a well-drilled unit this season with boss Micky Mellon barking out orders from the touchline.
Dennis got on the end of youngster MacPherson’s delivery from the left, flicking a header narrowly wide on 35 minutes as the hosts maintained their pressure.
United continued to be sloppy in possession and were second to almost every ball as the first 45 drew to a close with the Buddies the happier side.
Four minutes into the second half, United thought they’d won a free-kick on the edge of the box but referee David Munro adjudged Clark to have fouled Conor McCarthy and not the other way round.
Moments later Mason angled a fizzing drive over Siegrist’s bar from fully 30 yards.
Share of the spoils in Ferguslie Park fog
As the half wore on conditions in Paisley worsened as a thick grey fog enveloped the players on the park, making visibility difficult.
McGrath was still seeing well, though, as he flashed a dipping effort just wide of Siegrist’s right-hand post.
MacPherson was next to fire towards the United goal, sending his bending right-foot effort inches wide.
A double change for the Terrors on 59 minutes saw Dillon Powers and Marc McNulty check in for Harkes and Pawlett as Mellon went with three up top.
Lee Erwin entered the fray for the hosts, replacing Dennis, as the Buddies looked to make the most of the former Motherwell and Kilmarnock man’s aerial threat.
Tait fizzed an effort past the post just after the hour mark as St Mirren continued to push for the opener. MacPherson rasped in another minutes later but was brought down in the process.
From the resultant free-kick the 21-year-old could, again, only fire the set-piece into the United wall.
Fraser lashed wide from distance as the hosts piled on the pressure in increasingly challenging conditions.
McNulty did well to win a corner for United as the Tangerines had their first meaningful attack of the half. Paul McMullan, just on for Luke Bolton, took it but couldn’t pick out a man.
On 76 minutes, Doyle-Hayes forced a smart stop out of United’s Swiss No 1 Siegrist as the Terrors continued to struggle to create.
Three minutes later, though, McMullan made a lovely opening down the right as he streaked into the box and cut back for Clark but the United striker saw his effort deflected behind.
Doyle-Hayes again fired goalwards but his effort was charged down well by the visiting defence.
Whistler Munro waved away St Mirren cries for a penalty with three minutes remaining as sub Jon Obika went down in the box under the close attentions of McMullan as both teams pressed for a bit of late magic.
It never came and both had to make do with a share of the spoils heading into the international break and Betfred Cup fixtures.
St Mirren (5-4-1): Alnwick (GK); Tait, Fraser, Shaugnessy (C), McCarthy, Mason (Foley 80); Doyle-Hayes, Erhahon, MacPherson (Obika 71), McGrath (Morias 80); Dennis (Erwin 58).
Subs not used: Lyness (GK), Finlayson, Sheron, McAllister and Connolly.
Dundee United (4-4-2): Siegrist (GK); Smith, Edwards, Reynolds (C), Robson; Bolton (McMullan 70), Butcher, Harkes (Powers 59), Pawlett (McNulty 59); Clark, Shankland.
Subs not used: Deniz (GK), Sporle, Fotheringham, Appere, Neilson and Fuchs.
Referee: David Munro.