Ross County managed to partially capitalise on their numerical advantage against St Mirren, but the Staggies may rue not returning from Paisley with more than a point.
County could have had an ominous afternoon on their hands, after Jon Obika had given Saints an early lead in a tepid first half.
The Staggies took a firm grip on the game after the break and were handed a huge boost in their rally to secure a leveller when Joe Shaughnessy was shown a straight red card for a lunge on Ross Stewart.
County took just eight minutes to level through a Nathan Sheron own goal, but, with 20 minutes remaining thereafter, Staggies manager Stuart Kettlewell reflected on a missed opportunity.
Kettlewell said: “When you see the way it panned out, I am a bit disappointed.
“We came down with a game plan to try to win the game and in the initial stages it looked like we would do anything but that outcome.
“We made a few changes at half-time, swapped things about and we got a decent response.
“We had a few chances, but St Mirren still looked a threat as well. The game turned on its head when they went down to 10 men and we got our goal.
“It’s a decent points haul from the opening five games, but when you see them down to 10 men then you want to turn the screw and win the game, so that’s a disappointment.”
The Staggies’ defeat to Dundee United had cost them their unbeaten start to the campaign, but Kettlewell kept faith with the same team for the trip to Paisley,where Saints remain unbeaten on league duty in 2020.
It was a cagey opening from both teams but the home side made a scrappy breakthrough from little pressure on 14 minutes.
Michael Gardyne failed to clear the danger, allowing Kyle McAllister to work the ball to Obika, who was afforded the space to prod past Ross Laidlaw from 12 yards.
It was a highly preventable goal – and County’s woes increased when they were forced to make a change on 24 minutes, with Coll Donaldson being replaced by Keith Watson after suffering a leg injury which resulted in him needing crutches.
Although Saints were in a position of command, their resolve was put to the test by the Staggies on 27 minutes, with Gardyne weaving into a crossing position down the right flank before providing a delivery which left the goal at Billy Mckay’s mercy.
However, the forward was unable to connect with it.
County came even closer when Harry Paton’s corner picked out Stewart at the far post, with his header clipping the crossbar on its way over.
County needed an intervention from Laidlaw to prevent the Buddies doubling their lead just before half-time with the goalkeeper standing tall to block a Junior Morais effort after he had been played in by Obika.
Kettlewell freshened up his side at half-time, with Reid and Paton withdrawn for Carl Tremarco and Regan Charles-Cook.
The latter nearly making an instant impact, sending in a cross which looked to have allowed Stewart to pick his spot, only to see his header met by a remarkable goal-line clearance from the outstretched Richard Tait.
There were chances for both sides, with Laidlaw forced to make an outstanding save from Morais, while at the other end Gardyne saw a strike parried by Jak Alnwick.
The game’s turning point arrived on 62 minutes, with Shaughnessy shown a straight red card by Mike Roncone, despite the referee not initially awarding the foul on Stewart until an intervention from fourth official Willie Collum.
The potential severity of Shaughnessy’s challenge on Stewart was emphasised by Kettlewell, who said: “I have seen it back and I think my player is very lucky to still be playing at the end.
“By millimetres he has dodged a real serious injury.
“Shaughnessy has a straight leg and he is very close to catching Ross around the knee joint. He is out of control, so it should be a sending-off.
“I have to say the referee missed it and went to play on,
but the fourth official has seen it. I think they have got it right.”
County took advantage by levelling eight minutes later, with Gardyne seeing his shot turned into the net with the aid of a huge deflection off Nathan Sheron, after being teed up by Connor Randall’s header.
The Staggies pushed for a winner, with Mckay prodding Gardyne’s delivery wide of target in stoppage time, but the Highlanders had to settle for a point.