Saturday 21st October
Saints dropped to sixth place in the Ladbrokes Premiership following today’s 1-0 loss to Hearts at BT Murrayfield.
It was a scrappy match as both teams struggled to create opportunities in front of goal. The only goal of the game came on 74 minutes as Kyle Lafferty intercepted a Harry Cochrane strike, and turned to fire a shot at goal which took a deflection off Joe Shaughnessy to deceive Alan Mannus.
Saints will now look to bounce back against Ross County when they welcome The Staggies to McDiarmid Park on Tuesday evening.
It was a unique occasion this afternoon as Saints took on Hearts at BT Murrayfield as The Jambos Main Stand at Tynecastle is still under construction. Going into the match Tommy Wright made three changes to the side that started the 3-0 loss last week as Michael O’Halloran, Liam Craig and Liam Gordon came in for Murray Davidson, Graham Cummins and the suspended Steven Anderson. Whilst Hearts manager Craig Levein also made three changes to his starting line-up following last Saturday’s 2-1 win at Ross County as David Milinkovic, Ross Callachan and Jamie Brendon came in for Don Cowie, Euan Henderson and the suspended Connor Randall.
Saints got the match underway and they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area on 6 minutes after Stefan Scougall had been fouled by Prince Buaben, who was shown a yellow card for the challenge. Scougall took the free kick himself but his delivery into the box was cleared by the Hearts defence. Then 2 minutes later Scougall was involved in the thick of the action again this time crossing a great ball into the box which was knocked behind for a corner by Christophe Berra which was easily dealt with by the home defence.
On 17 minutes Hearts won a corner which was taken by John Souttar and he whipped the ball into the box which found the head of Kyle Lafferty who headed inches wide of Mannus’ right-hand post.
It was a tight first half although Saints were looking dangerous going forward but they struggled to take advantage of these opportunities in the final third. On 33 minutes Liam Craig, did well to win the ball from Buaben in midfield before advancing forward but the Saints midfielder was crowded out by the retreating Jambos defence as they cleared the danger.
On 38 minutes Esmael Goncalves broke down the right before cutting inside and setting up Ross Callachan who played in Jamie Walker and the midfielder tried to squeeze a tight angled shot in at the near post but Joe Shaughnessy did well to turn the effort behind for a corner. The corner was taken by Souttar and his ball into the box found Berra whose header was brilliantly palmed over for another corner by Mannus. Again, the corner was taken by Souttar but this time his cross into the box was cleared by Steven MacLean.
Before the second half got underway Hearts made a change as Harry Cochrane came on for Buaben.
Hearts started the second half more brightly as on 48 minutes Michael Smith’s long throw was headed out to Callachan, who knocked it down to Walker and he attempted a first-time volley from about 20 yards that went over the bar. Then 3 minutes later David Milinkovic setup Smith whose cross into the box was cut out by Shaughnessy for a corner which came to nothing. Hearts were on top and on 53 minutes Walker won the ball on the halfway line before braking at pace and he then slipped the ball to Goncalves but his shot was straight at Mannus.
Saints made their first change of the match on 67 minutes as Graham Cummins came on for Steven MacLean.
Hearts took the lead on 74 minutes as Cochrane’s effort from distance was intercepted by Lafferty and the Northern Ireland internationalist had time to spin and fire off a shot which took a deflection off Shaughnessy to wrong foot Mannus as the ball landed in the bottom corner of the net.
As the match entered the closing stages Saints pressed forward as they looked to get an equaliser but they couldn’t create anything of significance that would trouble Jon McLaughlin in the home goal.
Then deep into added on time Hearts hit Saints on the break as Walker broke forward before slipping the ball to Harry Cochrane who unleashed a shot at goal which rattled off Mannus’ right-hand post.
Hearts: McLaughlin, Smith, Souttar, Berra, Walker, Buaben (Cochrane 45), Lafferty, Milinkovic (Stockton 81), Callachan, Brandon, Goncalves (Henderson 69)
Unused Substitutes: Hamilton (GK), Nowak, Grzelak, Moore
Booked: Buaben, Cochrane, Lafferty, Callachan
Scorer: Lafferty (74)
Saints: Mannus, Shaughnessy, Millar (Johnstone 81), MacLean (Cummins 67), Wotherspoon (Alston 77), O’Halloran, Comrie, Scougall, Gordon, Easton, Craig
Unused Substitutes: Clark (GK), Tanser, Paton, Gilchrist
Booked: Scougall, Millar, Craig
Referee: Nick Walsh
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Aaron Comrie tackles Kyle Lafferty
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