ST Mirren closed the gap on league leaders Dundee United with a 2-0 win against Inverness at the Caledonian Stadium on Saturday.

Second half goals from Ian McShane and Gavin Reilly reduced the gap to one point, keeping ahead of Livingston and Dunfermline who are in hot pursuit.

The Buddies had a chance to go back top of the Championship last night, after the Gazette went to press.

Saints should have taken the lead on the half hour mark when Lewis Morgan managed to break clear.

David Raven was trying to get back to cover the winger, but Morgan got himself one-on-one with ex-St Mirren goalkeeper Mark Ridgers, only to slide his effort by the post.

Inverness weren’t creating many clear cut opportunity but had a few shots from distance that troubled Saints.

But it was the hosts who would close out the half the stronger of the two with Samson denying John Baird and Iain Vigurs in quick succession on the lead up to the interval.

While Inverness finished the first half as the better side, it was the Buddies who came out brightly after the break.

The rain and snow had lashed down on the Caledonian Stadium throughout the whole match and even through the interval.

Saints’ strong start would be rewarded on 51 minutes when the visitors were awarded a penalty kick.

Morgan danced his way into the box before being nudged over by David Raven with referee John McKendrick showing no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Up stepped McShane who sent Ridgers the wrong way to open the scoring.

The game hit a lull with a Vigurs free kick crashing off the Saints wall before Morgan curled one of the bar for the Buddies.

But it would soon flash into life again when Vigurs was given his marching orders with a little over 10 minutes to play.

Booked in the first half for a coming together with Cammy Smith, the midfielder was shown a second yellow after bringing down McShane in the St Mirren box before screaming in the goalscorer’s face.

This prompted Samson to rush out to have a go at Vigurs with the referee also booking the Saints keeper once the melee had calmed down.

With Inverness charging forward in search of an equaliser, the ball fell to substitute Stelios on the edge of the Saints box.

He launched it towards Gavin Reilly who knocked it beyond a Caley defender to find himself rushing through one-on-one with Ridgers. The striker showed great composure to knock the ball beyond the goalkeeper to score his 50th career league goal.