St Mirren boosted their survival hopes as they closed the gap on Ayr United to one point after picking up a 3-2 victory over play-off hopefuls Dundee United at the Paisley 2021 Stadium in the Scottish Championship.

Saints opened the scoring after two minutes via Harry Davis, before Tony Andreu brought United level.

Stevie Mallan scored a stunning free-kick before half-time, and Lewis Morgan extended their lead on the hour mark.

Andreu scored again after 70 minutes, but Ray MacKinnon’s side’s dismal away form continues, not picking up a win in their last six league away games.

Saints came flying out of the blocks Mallan’s free-kick was flicked on several times before Davis prodded home from close range.

And it was a sight Saints fans weren’t used to seeing this season, it was their first league goal scored in the opening 15 minutes of the entire league campaign.

Most of Saints’ joy throughout the game came down the right through Cammy Smith and Gary Irvine.

United begin to grow into the game, but the hosts chased down every ball and put pressure on the visitors.

But there were warning signs from a Dundee corner on 32 minutes, and Saints were punished just a minute later when Simon Murray’s cross was converted home by Andreu on 33 minutes.

However the parity didn’t last long.

After 37 minutes, Mallan fired home a free-kick from the left-hand side, Cammy Bell leaving far too much space to his right-hand side and the home side quickly restored their advantage.

Davis was stretchered off in the closing stages of the first half with what looked like a serious injury.

St Mirren almost extended their league in the final moments of the first half, John Sutton not managing to get enough on a corner to tap it home.

United started the half brightly, with Andreu crashing a header off the bar after 48 minutes. The Arabs were sent wave after wave of attack, and Charlie Telfer fired over from the edge of the box - a good chance gone begging for the away side.

But the Buddies punished United’s poor finishing on the hour mark, Morgan tapping home after Loy’s effort was blocked by Bell.

Andreu clawed the visitors back into the game, doubling his and United’s tally after 70 minutes. The Frenchman’s curling effort from 20 sailed past O’Brien into the bottom left-hand corner for his tenth goal of the league campaign.

And Saints looked to shut up shop, bringing Smith off for Craig Storie, and were able to weather the storm, almost snatched another late on, with Morgan firing over.

Their next game is away to Queen of the South on Saturday, kick-off is at 3pm.

ST MIRREN: O’Brien, Irvine, Mackenzie, Sutton, Morgan, Davis (Baird, 41), Mallan, Loy (Magennis, 68) , Smith (Storie, 81), McGinn.

Subs not used: Langfield, Demetriou, Todd, Storie, Fjelde.

DUNDEE UNITED: Bell, Dillon, Durnan, Murray (Van Der Velden, 78), Fraser (Mikkelson, 31), Nicholls (Coote, 63), Telfer, Edjenguele, Flood, Andreu, Robson.

Subs not used: Dixon, Donaldson, Murdoch, Zwick.