ST MIRREN went back to the top of the Championship on Saturday despite a blow par performance in the 2-1 home win over Brechin City on Saturday.

Cammy Smith put Saints in front in the 14th minute after being played through on goal by a terrific long range pass from Stephen McGinn.

But the Buddies were sloppy after taking the lead and Brechin pulled level in the 38th minute when former Saint Kalvin Orsi headed home from close range.

Brechin were well organised in defence and threatened a winner themselves on a couple of occasions in the second half as Saints’ passing game deserted them.

It was left to substitute Dale Hilson to convert his first goal for the club in the 78th minute to ensure the win over the Championship’s bottom side.

Dunfermline’s 3-1 defeat to Dundee United made sure Jack Ross’ side went back to the top of the table, one point ahead of United.

St Mirren took some time to get going but took the lead after taking their first clear chance of the game. A long defence splitting pass from Buddies skipper McGinn left City at sixes and sevens, the ball was pinpoint for Cammy Smith who scuffed his shot somewhat but it trickled past he onrushing Graeme Smith and into the net.

The away side forced some set-piece chances in the first period which St Mirren were able to deal with comfortably, but Saints failed to find their rhythm in the final third after going in front and their usually potent attacking trio of Lewis Morgan, Gavin Reilly and Cammy Smith were strangely quiet.

The Buddies were soon punished for their lacklustre first-half display, and it was a familiar face who would come back to haunt them.

Jordan Sinclair was allowed too much space and time to deliver a cross from the Brechin right. His deep cross found former Buddie Orsi in plety of space and he headed in from six yards.

Jack Ross would no doubt have had some harsh words for his players at half-time, but it didn’t have the desired effect as Saints continued to look bereft of ideas and lacked control of the game in the second period.

Brechin defended well and fashioned a few half chances themselves on the break as they looked to claim a valuable result.

It took until the 72nd minute for the Buddies to call Brechin keeper Smith into action. Cammy Smith went on a driving run from the right into the centre of pitch and teed up Morgan on the left side of the box, but he couldn’t celebrate his 21st birthday with a goal as his first time shot was well palmed away by Smith.

But Saints soon grabbed the long awaited breakthrough. Substitute Ross Stewart bustled his way down the right wing before clipping a cross to the front post which fellow sub John Sutton couldn’t get a clean contact on, but it fell kindly for Hilson who bundled home his first St Mirren goal

St Mirren: Samson, L.Smith, Baird, McCart, Stelios (Hilson, 67), McGinn, McShane, C. Smith, Kirkpatrick (Stewart, 52), Morgan, Reilly (Sutton, 76)

Subs Not Used: Stewart, Irvine, Buchanan, Duffy.

Attendance: 3, 928.