Saints recorded a big result in Invergordon to go straight to the top of the Football Times Cup South section with a 2-1 win over their Easter Ross rivals.
Missing out following last weekend's record 12-0 win over Bonar Bridge were Finn As-Chainey and goalkeeper Johnny Allan, while former Saints stopper Danny McCarthy made a surprise return as a trialist. There was a place in the starting lineup also for new signing Dean Allison, taking the number 9 shirt.
Both sides threatened in the early going, each playing at a high tempo in typical derby fashion. The first significant chance fell to Invergordon's Ken Morrison who sent a Daniel Christie cross flying over the bar from 10 yards.
Saints proved more clinical at the other end on 18 minutes. A superb pass into the box from Jon Campbell defied Scott Houston and debutant Dean Allison showed good composure to Liam Rostock who slotted the ball low past Grant Beattie into the far corner with a left foot finish.
Sound goalkeeping from trialist Danny McCarthy kept the onrushing Darran Goller out on the half hour mark as Invergordon heaped pressure on for the equaliser and moments later at the other end, Liam Rostock was foiled in his attempt to net a second by the offside flag after being played in on goal at close range by Stefan MacRitchie.
Invergordon pressed hard for the equaliser in the early part of the second half, but the Saints rearguard showed great resilience and aside from a goal line clearance from Cammy Mackintosh shortly before the hour mark, they rarely looked in danger.
Midway through the second half, a flurry of corners saw St. Duthus double their advantage. Following claims that the ball had crossed the line from a Charlie Macdonald header, the ball was fed back out to Rostock who returned it to the danger area. A cry for handball was waved off after a shot from Macdonald again, but just seconds later Cammy Mackintosh let fly with a stunning dipping shot from the edge of the box which flew over Beattie to make it 2-0.
The two-goal lead for St. Duthus was short lived though, and with a quick counter attack, Invergordon pulled a goal back on 71 minutes. Jordan Knight slipped the ball into the box and despite blocking a point-blank effort from Jack Hudson, McCarthy was powerless to prevent Knight knocking the rebound into the net.
Saints were not finished though. At the other end, a superb Reece Paterson through ball found Jon Campbell attacking on the edge of the box, and nipping past Beattie he sent the ball across the Invergordon goal line at an agonisingly slow pace before Arron Christie eventually won the race to clear it to safety.
McCarthy produced an excellent save shortly before the 90 minutes were up when he steered the ball onto the crossbar from an Ian Penwright strike. Invergordon's best shot at an equaliser, however, came in the fifth minute of injury time when Ken Morrison fired goalward from close range only to see his shot blocked on the line and McCarthy recovering to gather the ball.
Resilient defending and some more very capable goalkeeping from McCarthy in the final moments did the job for Saints as they saw the game out to take all three points.
Grant Beattie, Daniel Christie (Shaun Kerr 46), Arron Christie, David Mackay (Cammy Houston 56), Scott Houston, Ken Morrison, Jordan Knight, Jack Hudson, Darran Goller, Ian Penwright, Kyle Maclean
Sub not used: Joe Sutherland
Danny McCarthy, Jon Campbell, Reece Paterson, John Skinner, Charlie Macdonald, Craig Munro (Adam Allan 27), Stefan MacRitchie (Paul Beaton 93), Cammy Mackintosh, Dean Allison (Finlay Macleod 73), Will Ross, Liam Rostock (Alan Geegan 86)
Referee: Billy Baxter
Assistants: Andrew Bannerman & Tommy Creighton