St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas had no complaints after seeing Francisco Sandaza sent off in a 2-0 Tayside derby defeat which saw Dundee United climb above his side and into fourth place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
Saints hit the post in the second minute through Cillian Sheridan, but their cause was hampered after 57 minutes when Sandaza was shown a straight red card after kicking out at Sean Dillon, and the top scorer can expect a minimum two-match ban which will hinder the Perth side's quest for European qualification.
Lomas said: "He's let his team-mates down today. I'm a big fan of Fran and will back him to the hilt, but you just can't kick out on a football pitch and he left us a mountain to climb.
"We as a club just can't afford to play against a full strength Dundee United with 10 men.
"I thought the lads that were left out there battled manfully and they got the second when we were just throwing everything forward.
"It's disappointing, we're all gutted, but Dundee United are only two points ahead and it's going to change week by week.
Scott Robertson scored after 32 minutes and John Rankin in second half stoppage time as United moved within three points of third-placed Motherwell, who meet Celtic on Sunday, meaning Champions League football is a realistic prospect at Tannadice next term.
Dillon, who was a team-mate of Sandaza at Tannadice before the striker's departure in the summer of 2010, said: "He volleyed me, but I have a certain amount of sympathy for him. I wasn't expecting the ref to pull out a red card because I didn't see him do anything to me, although I felt a small bit. It's a little bit silly from his point of view."
United boss Peter Houston said: "It's a huge three points for us today but it doesn't mean we're going to end up in the Champions League.
"St Johnstone in the first five minutes could've scored two goals and for the rest of the 35, 40 minutes we started creating chances. I don't think the sending off helped us in many ways. We were getting a wee bit jittery near the end, so the goal was nice."