St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas paid tribute to top scorer Francisco Sandaza for his crucial penalty winner in the 2-1 victory over Hearts.
The 16-goal Spaniard won the spot-kick and then expertly converted to seal three points - despite the visitors trying to put him off.
The victory moved St Johnstone four points ahead of Hearts and kept them level with Dundee United in fourth. The Perth side can now overtake the Tannadice club if they beat Inverness in midweek.
Lomas said: "It was a difficult situation for Fran and I understand why Hearts tried to put pressure on him. That's what you do as the opposition but it was a fine penalty from him.
"He made the penalty and scored it, and I was happy for him. It was definitely a penalty. He has great ability in the box and showed great feet again.
"It was a close game. Hearts made a few changes and the young boys wanted to prove a point. We know we can play better but at this stage it's about points, not performances. Coming from behind to win is a great trait and it was a brilliant result for us."
Jason Holt fired Hearts ahead after 29 minutes but Murray Davidson equalised six minutes later. The second half was even but Sandaza forced Marius Zaliukas into a foul in 76 minutes and made no mistake from 12 yards.
Hearts manager Paulo Sergio compared his squad to the walking wounded. Craig Beattie, Rudi Skacel and Ian Black were among those missing for the Tynecastle club.
But Sergio praised the youngsters who filled in and criticised referee Steven McLean for some key decisions.
He said: "Cillian Sheridan kicked Danny Grainger in the head and there should have been a foul. A St Johnstone player was also offside in the lead-up to the first goal. Two mistakes have hurt us. The young players did well but it's very frustrating not to take a point."