Saturday 29th September
Despite a late resurgence Saints lost 2-1 to Hearts at Tynecastle Park this afternoon. The Jambos took the lead on 23 minutes when from an Olly Lee corner Peter Haring nodded the ball home into the top right-hand corner of the net.
Hearts then doubled their lead on 65 minutes as another Olly Lee corner picked out Jimmy Dunne who planted a powerful header past Zander Clark.
Saints though responded and Ross Callachan pulled a goal back, his first for the club, with 13 minutes remaining to setup a tense finish. However, Saints couldn’t get that important second goal as the Jambos held out for the win.
Today’s result leaves Saints eighth in the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership with 8 points after 7 games. Next up is a home game against Celtic next Sunday.
After Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Celtic in the Betfred Cup Saints made the trip to Edinburgh today to take on Hearts. Tommy Wright made three changes to the side that started the midweek game at McDiarmid as Liam Craig, David Wotherspoon and Tony Watt all dropped to the bench. They were replaced by Matty Kennedy, Chris Kane and David McMillan. Hearts manager Craig Levein decided to go with the same team that defeated Motherwell 4-2 on Wednesday evening as they progressed to the semi-finals of the Betfred Cup.
Saints got the match underway but it was Hearts who created the first opportunity of the match after 2 minutes as Michael Smith made space for himself before unleashing a shot from 25 yards that was saved by Zander Clark.
Then 2 minutes later Saints had their first chance of the match as a Matty Kennedy cross from the left was directed goal-wards by John Souttar but Zdenek Zlamal made a great save to prevent the own goal.
On 12 minutes the hosts put together a good movement which ended with Steven MacLean backheeling the ball to Smith however, the right back was unable to get his effort on target.
It was an entering opening to the match and it was Saints who would create the next chance 2 minutes later. Drey Wright broke down the right before sending over a cross picking out David McMillan in the box however, the header from the Saints striker went wide of Zlamal’s right-hand post.
The hosts threatened again on 20 minutes as Arnaud Djoum’s ball into the box found MacLean however the header from the former Saints striker was tame as Clark gathered. Hearts though were ahead 3 minutes later thanks to a header from Peter Haring. A corner from Olly Lee was flicked up into the air by Djoum and Haring rose to head home with precision into the top right-hand corner of the net.
Saints tried to get an instant response as on 25 minutes a long-range Blair Alston effort was pushed behind for a corner by Zlamal however, the resultant corner came to nothing.
The league leaders then got a great chance to double their lead on the half hour mark. Demetri Mitchell cut inside before finding Lee in the box, who then slipped the ball to Callumn Morrison although luckily for Saints his shot hit the side netting.
Hearts continued to create chances and on 38 minutes Clark made a great onehanded save to deny Lee. Then barely a minute later the Saints number one was called into action again; this time brilliantly pushing over a Mitchell effort from the edge of the area.
The second half started in a similar fashion as on 49 minutes Morrison tried his luck from 20 yards however, his curling left footed effort went inches over the bar.
On 52 minutes Saints created a great opportunity to level the match as Drey Wright did well to beat Mitchell and then played a neat one-two with Ross Callachan before seeing his effort go inches wide.
Steven MacLean was presented with a good chance to double Hearts lead on the hour mark as Clark could only parry a low Steven Naismith shot and MacLean came in for the follow-up which he blasted well over with the goal gaping.
The Jambos pressure eventually told as they got the crucial second goal on 65 minutes. Lee floated another corner in from the right into the box and defender Jimmy Dunne rose to plant a powerful header past Clark.
Saints then brought on Tony Watt for David McMillan and the substitute was quickly involved in the action as straight from the kick-off he broke into the Hearts box before seeing his effort trundle inches wide.
After defending well against further Hearts pressure Saints pulled a goal back on 77 minutes. Watt did well to power his way into the box before cutting back to Callachan who calmly slotted the ball into the net past for helpless Zlamal for his first goal for the club.
That setup an interesting finale as Saints pressed for the equaliser with the closest they came was when Chris Kane’s shot was deflected for a corner with 5 minutes remaining as Hearts held out to secure the win that sees them remain 5 points clear at the top of the league.
Hearts: Zlamal, Smith (Dikamona 84), Dunne, Souttar, Haring, Lee, Djoum, Mitchell, Naismith, MacLean (Amankwaa 87), Morrison (Bozanic 79)
Unused Substitutes: Doyle (GK), Wighton, Garuccio, McDonald
Scorers: Haring (23), Dunne (65)
Saints: Clark, Tanser, Alston (Craig 84), Shaughnessy, Wright, Kane, Kerr, McMillan (Watt 66), Foster, Callachan, Kennedy (Swanson 57)
Unused Substitutes: Hurst (GK), Anderson, Wotherspoon, Nydam
Scorer: Callachan (77)
Referee: Nick Walsh
Attendance: 17,240 (584 Saints fans)
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Matty Kennedy has a shot at goal
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