The St Mirren winger netted an unstoppable 25-yard effort from the right wing into the opposite corner to give his side a 2-1 lead after Steven Thompson and Jon Daly had exchanged strikes.
However, his effort was quickly cancelled out by Stuart Armstrong in an extraordinary spell which saw all of the goals arrive within 10 minutes – and 2-2 proved to be the final score following a goalless second half.
Both sides named unchanged teams following their Christmas Eve victories.
Home manager Danny Lennon stuck with the same starting XI which beat Rangers as his side sought consecutive victories for the first time this season.
Visiting counterpart Peter Houston named an unaltered team for a third match, although Willo Flood had recovered from illness to allow him to take his place on the bench.
United made a good start despite the terrible weather conditions, Johnny Russell winning the first corner after just 20 seconds, while Jon Daly also produced an early save from home goalkeeper Craig Samson.
However, St Mirren came into the game with some testing efforts, first when Jeroen Tesselaar’s shot from distance on nine minutes curled wide of the right-hand post in the blustering wind.
Graham Carey came similarly close when a free-kick off the United wall was blocked but not cleared, and he worked his way into position to have a shot.
Russell continued to cause problems when United were on the attack, but Steven Thompson troubled Dusan Pernis with a ball lofted in from the left wing which the goalkeeper had to scramble to tip away from the opposite corner.
Thompson gave his side the lead after 27 minutes when he reacted first to Carey’s ball in from the right side of the box, pouncing to send it into the left-hand side of the goal.
United responded immediately and were back on level terms after 31 minutes when Jon Daly netted low to the left corner to make it 1-1, heralding the start of an extraordinary spell of non-stop action.
Just over 60 seconds later, St Mirren were back in front thanks to a stunning goal from Carey, who unleashed a screamer from the right wing 25 yards out which fizzed unstoppably into the top-left corner to spark frenzied home celebrations.
United once again hit back, however, Stuart Armstrong heading home from close range to equalise for a second time from Gary Mackay-Steven’s cross.
Russell even created an opportunity to give his side a half-time lead by embarking on a solo run from the halfway line all the way into the penalty box, but Samson put up his hands to block the eventual shot.
United again made a bright start to the second half, Mackay-Steven intercepting the ball in midfield and bearing down for a shot on goal which hit the left-hand post.
David van Zanten twice tried his luck at the other end and Aaron Mooy saw a diagonal effort from the right run wide of the target in the opening five minutes after the restart.
John Rankin then tested Samson with a long-range effort which the goalkeeper palmed away for a corner.
St Mirren were within inches of going in front for a third time just after the hour when Thompson was poised to slide in and poke home a cross from the right, but United were saved by the timely intervention of Robbie Neilson, who cleared off the line from under the striker’s feet.
United earned two corners in quick succession as the game entered its final 15 minutes and both sides set out to try to find the winning goal.
Tesselaar saw a cross from the left drift wide at the opposite flank without being turned in, while Rankin ran along the edge of the area past the St Mirren defence and eventually had space for an effort which curled off target.