Peterhead’s hopes of League Cup progression were ended by a 3-1 defeat to St Johnstone at Balmoor.
The Blue Toon needed to get something against the Premiership outfit to reach the last 16. Two or three points would have seen them top Group C, while one would have given them a shot at going through as one of the four best runners-up.
But a second half penalty spot double from Stevie May and Chris Kane’s strike gave the Perth side victory, despite Shaun Rooney’s own goal.
Boss Jim McInally made two alterations to the side that drew 1-1 with Kelty Hearts before winning on penalties.
Simon Ferry and Steven Boyd – who featured off the bench at New Central Park – both came into the starting line-up with Lyall Cameron and Alan Cook dropping to the bench.
The first raid forward from either side was when Michael O’Halloran broke clear down the right but Ferry did well to turn his cross behind for a fruitless corner.
Peterhead were disciplined defensively playing into a stiff wind in the first half, although on one brief occasion midway through the first period former Aberdeen striker May broke away down the left but with Craig Conway waiting for a cutback goalkeeper Lenny Wilson did well to grab the cross.
For the Blue Toon going forward Boyd’s guile in possession was proving important.
His ability to suck in defenders and draw free-kicks helped get the home side up the pitch. Following a free-kick earned by Boyd at the edge of the box Gary Fraser curled narrowly wide.
At the other end Conway lashed wildly over the bar from 20 yards when things appeared to be opening up.
With nine minutes left to half-time Saints went close to taking the lead. Conway’s inswinging free-kick from the left was whipped in with pace and Shaun Rooney got a touch on the delivery but it slipped just wide of the back post.
At the other end Kyle Bailey dribbled a header wide from a Ryan Conroy corner when he perhaps should have done better.
It was level at the interval but Saints took the lead three minutes into the second half from the penalty spot.
Referee Euan Anderson pointed to the spot after a tangle between Jason Brown and May at a corner, it seemed a harsh decision given that it was the sort of thing which goes on at every set piece, with May drilling down the middle from 12 yards.
After falling behind Peterhead responded well forcing three corners in quick succession with Scott Brown having a header scrambled off the line from the first.
On the hour mark Saints doubled their lead and again it was May from the spot. The striker turned away from Kieran Freeman and hit the turf and after Anderson pointed to the spot May again converted.
Any hopes of a Blue Toon comeback looked to be extinguished when Saints released Kane on the left side of the area and he beat Wilson with a powerful finish at his near post.
But just a minute later the Buchan side pulled one back with Lyall Cameron reaching the byline on the right and Rooney turning the low centre into his own net.
Peterhead gave everything in the closing stages to try to come back and force penalties. Scott Brown curled a shot narrowly wide and they threw plenty of crosses into the box but they couldn’t manage it.
Peterhead (4-1-4-1) – Wilson, Bailey, Freeman, J Brown (Lyle 63), Conroy; Ferry, Fraser (Cameron 68), S Brown, Boyd, McCarthy, Armour (Cook 29).
Subs not used – Bakar, Kesson.
St Johnstone (3-4-1-2) – Clark, Rooney, Kerr, McCart, Booth, Conway (Bryson 60), Craig, Davidson, O’Halloran, May (Kane 73), Melamed (Hendry 60).
Subs not used – Parish, Gordon, Tanser, Ferguson, Wotherspoon.
Referee – Euan Anderson.