The Accies midfielder was set up by Simon Mensing after only four minutes following a mistake by Saints keeper Paul Gallacher.
However, with only Gallacher to beat he drew his shot wide of the target.
Hamilton keeper Tomas Cerny made a good save from a Billy Mehmet free-kick but the Lanarkshire side had the best of the 90 minutes without posing too much of a goal threat, which will again frustrate manager Billy Reid.
The most positive thing either side could take from this game was that they moved a point further away from bottom side Falkirk who lost at Dundee United.
It was Hamilton, watched by a pitiful away support of 297, amid a crowd of 3628, who had the first chance when Gallacher mis-kicked the ball straight to Mensing who quickly played in McArthur, but his miss proved symbolic of the afternoon.
Moments later, New Douglas Park striker Dougie Imrie, back from suspension, drove over from 25 yards before he just failed to get on a McArthur cut-back which had sped across the Buddies' six-yard box.
As the Lanarkshire side continued to dominate, St Mirren stopper Chris Innes had to clear another cut-back over the bar from a yard out and after appearing to hurt himself doing so, he was replaced by Allan Johnston.
The visitors, though, retained their grip on the game with the reshuffled St Mirren team, aside from a Michael Higdon shot which flew well wide, offering little in attack.
But the direction of the traffic gradually changed.
Mensing displayed his defensive capabilities in the 27th minute when he threw himself to block Steven Thomson's drive at the edge of the box, as the Paisley side exerted some pressure for the first time.
Moments later, there were further signs of a Saints revivals as a 20-yard snap-shot from midfielder Andy Dorman was saved by Cerny, albeit with a degree of comfort.
However, in the 34th minute, after Mehmet was fouled by Accies defender Mark McLaughlin 25 yards from goal, the Saints striker drilled in the free-kick which Cerny did well to hold low down to his right.
The game had clearly swung towards the home side and Cerny made further decent saves from Mehmet and Dorman.
Accies midfielder James Wesolowski pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury barely a minute after the restart and he was soon replaced by Flavio Paixao.
The start to the second period, though, was tepid.
In the 55th minute Gallacher had to tip Brian Easton's up-and-under which threatened to sneak in under the bar but again there was no threat from the Accies corner.
Accies substitute Marco Paixao then replaced full back Trent McClenahan as the Lanarkshire side tried another route to victory, with St Mirren responding by introducing Craig Dargo for Higdon but there was no immediate prospect of the opener at either end.
Dargo was booked for a foul on Alex Neil and was lucky not to get a second card for a second foul on the Accies skipper moments later, referee Crawford Allan resisting pressure from the visiting players who crowded round him.
As the match trudged towards conclusion it appeared almost obvious that one goal would settle it.
But the opener failed to materialise. McLaughlin glanced a Marco Paixao corner just past the post while at the other end, Saints substitute Graham Carey, on for Dorman, drove a free-kick straight at Cerny.