ST MIRREN scraped past Brechin City 2-1, keeping pace with Dundee United at the top of the table at Glebe Park on Saturday.

Gavin Reilly slotted in his 17th goal for the season before Isaac Layne equalised on 27 minutes.

But Cammy Smith was brought down midway through the second half, and converted the resulting penalty to keep within one point of United.

Manager Jack Ross made one substitution, bringing in Cammy Smith for the suspended Stelios.

It was a quiet start from both sides on a cold day at Glebe Park, the pitch passing an inspection in the morning of the tie.

Saints had the first penalty shout, Jack Baird was bundled over in the box on 14 minutes, but the referee waved play on.

But they didn’t have to wait long to get their opener, Reilly calmly slotted the ball home after ball over the top from the defence caught out Brechin’s defenders.

The hosts were far from out of the game though, and equalised on 27 minutes, Layne bagging his fifth goal of the season for the part-timers.

Former Saint Kalvin Orsi should have scored before the break, but his chip shot went just over the bar, and Craig Samson being forced into action twice to make two brilliant saves to keep Saints level.

Orsi then had another chance to score two minutes after the break, but again it went wide.

Saints then got the vital breakthrough they needed, Cammy Smith being brought down by goalkeeper Graeme Smith in the box. The midfielder dusted himself down and coolly slotted in the penalty to restore the lead for Saints.

But it was to remain nervy till the end for the visitors, with substitute Andy Jackson hitting the post in injury time, but Saints did enough to hold on for the three points.

St Mirren next host Dunfermline on Saturday, kick-off is at 3pm.

ST MIRREN: Samson, McGinn, Magennis, Morgan (Buchanan, 88), C Smith (Kirkpatrick, 90), Baird, McShane (Sutton, 61), Reilly, Davis, L Smith, Eckersley. Subs not used: Duffy, Stewart, McCart, O’Keefe.