IT has been a long time coming, but was well worth savouring.

Not since March 1 last year had Alan Archibald, Partick Thistle and their fans enjoyed the journey back to Glasgow from an away Ladbrokes Premiership game with a victory to accompany it.

If Thistle are to remain in the top flight yet again then triumphs such as this accomplished 3-1 win at Perth will be imperative, as Archibald readily admitted.

“To get ourselves safe, we need to make sure we get points on the road,” said Archibald. “We need to go and build on that now.”

Archibald spoke of how he hoped his side could catch St Johnstone cold, and they most certainly did.

Owing to the twice-postponed Scottish Cup tie at Albion Rovers, re-scheduled for Monday, it was St Johnstone’s first footing of 2018 and they began their resumption from the winter break firmly in hibernation mode.

Even before Steven Lawless side-footed home Miles Storey’s cut-back in the 13th minute to give Thistle the lead, the visitors had spurned a golden opportunity to go ahead when Niall Keown shot wide from mere yards out not even two minutes in.

Bar David Wotherspoon’s disallowed goal for an infringement, the home side’s first half resembled the windy weather. Huff and puff.

Substitute David McMillan brought a diving save from Tomas Cerny in the second period, but it was a Thistle replacement that then made the more pertinent impact.

Ryan Edwards was just on when he took a pass intended for Conor Sammon on the left edge of the penalty area, burst into the box and cut back for the Irishman to bundle home in the 64th minute.

St Johnstone were handed a lifeline when Cerny collided into McMillan just inside the penalty area as the pair attempted to reach Liam Craig’s ball over the top.

Craig was spot on from the penalty to make the last 16 minutes a game, while McMillan suffered the ignominy of having to be substituted himself.

Edwards sealed the win though when, with St Johnstone launching bodies forward, he ran from his own half in injury time and still had enough breath and composure to side-foot home under Zander Clark.

That the St Johnstone players didn’t even see manager Tommy Wright in the dressing room after the game should perhaps give them greater cause for concern than the expected hair-dryer treatment.

“The gloves are off,” Wright warned.