St Mirren marched to the top of the Championship table on Saturday with a 4-2 win over Inverness at the Paisley 2021 Stadium.

But as is usually the way with Saints, they did it the hard way and might’ve dropped points on another day.

Lewis Morgan’s deflected strike put the home side in front at the break. Then chaos ensued in the second-half as five goals were scored in the space of 13 minutes.

First John Baird brought the Caley Jags level before Gregor Buchanan headed Saints back in front. Liam Polworth notched a second equaliser for the away side before excellent finishes from the edge of the area from Cammy Smith and then Ian McShane ensured the Buddies got the better of a pulsating encounter.

Saints’ hearts were in mouths inside the first two minutes when Inverness had the ball in the net. A quick counter attack gave Riccardo Calder plenty of space on the left and he slid the ball across goal perfectly for the arriving Baird to finish, but the offside flag was raised against the former Saints man.

The Buddies threatened for the first time after 16 minutes, a well worked short corner between McShane and Smith worked the ball into space on the edge of the area for Stephen McGinn, the Saints skipper dropped his shoulder to move clear of his marker and fired in a stinging left footed drive which Mark Ridgers in the Thistle goal was forced to push over.

The St Mirren bench were up in the arms minutes later when Buchanan went down in the box under a challenge from Brad McKay in his attempts to head a McShane free-kick, but referee Willie Collum wasn’t interested.

Just past the half hour mark St Mirren took the lead. An exquisite lay-off from Reilly after a long ball forward from McGinn set Morgan on his way, he squared up McKay before skipping clear of the defender, McKay managed to get back and get a foot to Morgan’s shot, but it only served to wrong foot Ridgers and divert a tame shot into the net.

The Buddies were turning up the heat and Morgan was causing Thistle all sorts of problems. A slick passing move involving McGinn and Smith soon seen the Scotland under-21 scampering down the left again, from a tight angle this time his shot fizzed just wide of the far post.

The away side started the second half on the front foot. Saints had Craig Samson to thank for keeping them in front when Baird played Polworth in on goal with Saints’ defence posted missing. Samson was out quickly to block the shot with his legs.

But Polworth turned provider as Thistle drew level, his through ball set up Baird in the box and he buried it in the corner.

St Mirren were ahead again within two minutes. McShane twisted and turned on the right to leave Charlie Trafford on the deck before standing up a fine cross to the back post for Buchanan, his header appeared to trickle over the line but Reilly made sure with both players claiming the goal.

Inverness hit back in the 69th minute in what was a frenetic second half. With little danger an attempted clearance bounced back off a Saints player and sent Polworth through on goal, he rounded Samson before finishing.

The goals kept raining in as St Mirren once again took the initiative. Strong play from Reilly forced his way through a couple of challenges before he was tackled. The ball fell kindly for Smith who guided his shot into the corner from 20 yards.

The drama was far from finished there, as were the high class goals. A minute later Morgan squared for the on rushing McShane on the edge of the area and the midfielder rifled in a thunderous shot from 20 yards to leave Ridgers no chance.