Saints head into the international break still searching for their first league win of the 2019/20 season after falling to a 0-1 defeat against visitors Kilmarnock at McDiarmid Park.
Stevie May made his eagerly anticipated second debut coming on as a second half substitute while Drey Wright also came off the bench to return to action for the first time since damaging his ACL against Kilmarnock in November 2018.
A first-half Stephen O'Donnell goal was enough to secure the win for Angelo Alessio's men leaving Saints bottom of the table on goal difference as we head into September.
Ali McCann got the match underway at McDiarmid Park and in the early stages there weren't too many chances for either side as both teams tried to suss out eachother's gameplans.
It was Saints who had the first opportunity on 7 minutes when a Matty Kennedy cross was met by Chris Kane but his header was comfortably saved by Killie 'keeper Branescu.
Just a few minutes later and Liam Gordon had to be alert making an excellent block to deny Rory McKenzie.
The first booking of the match followed shortly after when Alan Power was penalised for a late lunge on Chris Kane on the 12th minute meaning the midfielder had to be careful with his challenges for the remainder of the match.
The two Saints wide men of Kennedy and O'Halloran looked lively and were causing problems without creating too much in the way of chances.
It was O'Halloran however who thought he'd made the breakthrough after 33 minutes.
The right winger showed superfast reactions to get his head onto a Wallace Duffy flick on in the box before Branescu, heading past the on-loan Juve man and into the back of the net only to be denied by the offside flag.
Saints continued to press forward in search of the opener however would be caught out on the counter on 40 minutes.
What was initially a Saints free-kick for a foul on O'Halloran 25-yards-out turned into a goal for the visitors. Scott Tanser's free-kick crashed into the wall and Killie broke forward through Liam Miller.
Miller managed to get right towards the byline before cutting one back towards right-back Stephen O'Donnell. Initially Liam Gordon made a great interception but the ball cannoned back off Wallace Duffy and into O'Donnell's path and the Scotland international slotted home to give Killie a half-time lead.
Saints started the second half strongly and looked the more likely to get the next goal in the game.
Corners and free-kick opportunities weren't taken advantage of, and Michael O'Halloran tried his luck from distance seeing his shot fly narrowly over the crossbar.
On 66 minutes it was the moment the fans had all been waiting for as Stevie May entered the action making his second debut for the club to a standing ovation from the Saints faithful.
And he nearly marked his return with a goal shortly after hooking a crossball goalward but his effort went over the crossbar.
Drey Wright and Danny Swanson also joined the action with 15 minutes remaining and Swanson almost made an immediate impact but was denied at the backpost by Branescu.
Wright - who filled in as an attacking full back - fizzed in a great cross towards Stevie May who saw his goalbound effort deflected wide for a corner kick.
Saints battled until the final whistle but couldn't find the breakthrough in the end meaning the search continues for the first league win of the 2019/20 season.
SAINTS: Clark, Duffy (Wright 78), Tanser, Kerr (c), Gordon, Craig (May 66), McCann, Davidson, O'Halloran, Kennedy (Swanson 78), Kane
UNUSED SUBS: Parish, Vihmann, Wotherspoon, Hendry
KILMARNOCK: Branescu, O'Donnell, Hamalainen, Bruce, Del Fabro, Dicker (c), Power, El Makrini, McKenzie (Wilson 90), Millar (Thomas 78), Brophy (Millen 84)
UNUSED SUBS: MacDonald, Kiltie, Cameron, Barlow
SCORER: O'Donnell (40)
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