Aberdeen captain Russell Anderson bowed out in defeat as St Johnstone spoiled the script with crucial 1-0 win at Pittodrie.
Chris Kane’s goal 20 minutes from time secured all three points and a fourth place finish in the Scottish Premiership for Saints, but it did not spoil the mood as Pittodrie hailed Anderson as he called time on his career.
There was little other than pride for the Dons at stake in the final game of the season and retiring captain Anderson was not the only player given the chance to say goodbye in his last game for the club as Joe Shaughnessy, who will be playing for St Johnstone next season and Dundee bound Nicky Low both earning a place in the starting line-up.
Adam Rooney, who has been called up to the Republic of Ireland squad, was given the day off but Mark Reynolds and Niall McGinn were recalled after being rested for the 1-1 draw at Dundee last weekend.
For St Johnstone, however, the final game of the campaign was an important one with Tommy Wright’s side needing to match Dundee United’s result to be sure of a fourth place finish which could earn a place in the Europa League in July if Caley Thistle win the Scottish Cup on Saturday.
Saints manager Wright made one change to the team which drew 0-0 with champions Celtic with Liam Caddis replacing Gary Miller.
Anderson was given a guard of honour by both teams before the game before taking his place in an experimental 3-5-2 formation and with the Dons having one eye firmly on next season the game was a low-key affair.
Goalmouth action in the first half especially was few and far between with a Michael O’Halloran shot into the side netting the only chance of note for the visitors.
The Dons fared little better with a weak shot from Cammy Smith cleared off the line by Steven Anderson in a pedestrian opening 45 minutes.
Former Don Steven MacLean tried to inject some excitement into proceedings when he went down in the box in theatrical fashion while under pressure from Ashton Taylor but he succeeded only in earning a caution from referee Willie Collum.
Jonny Hayes, who was partnered McGinn in attack, gave Saints goalkeeper Alan Mannus his first action of the game before the break with a fine low drive which Mannus did well to turn past the post.
Hayes was the biggest threat for the Dons and he went even closer with another low drive which Mannus did well to tip on to his right post.
The Dons thought they had won a penalty within minutes of the second half when Cammy Smith was sent sprawling in the box as he ran clear of goal but Collum dismissed appeals.
Saints almost rubbed salt into the wounds within seconds as they raced upfield only for O’Halloran to fire weakly at Scott Brown from six yards with the goal at his mercy.
With Dundee United having secured the points against Dundee Saints had to go for broke in the final half hour and manager Wright’s last throw of the dice paid off when substitute Chris Kane, who had been on the pitch all of 10 seconds, ran on to fellow substitute James McFadden’s through ball before firing past Brown in the Dons goal to give the Perth men all three points.