Saints 0-0 Hearts

Saturday 23rd December

Saints and Hearts had to settle for a share of the spoils at McDiarmid Park this afternoon.

Saints captain Joe Shaughnessy had a close-range header brilliantly tipped over by Hearts goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin during the first half.

Whilst in the second half Zander Clark saved well to stop Steven Anderson deflecting the ball into his own net.

With 12 minutes, remaining Hearts had youngster Harry Cochrane sent off for a second yellow card after a late challenge on Blair Alston.

MATCH REPORT

Saints were looked to build on their impressive form from last week when they beat Rangers 3-1 at Ibrox as they welcomed Hearts to McDiarmid Park this afternoon. Tommy Wright chose to go with the same team that started last Saturday’s win at Ibrox. Hearts also came into the match on the back of a positive result as they defeated Celtic 4-0 at Tynecastle Park last Sunday to end their unbeaten run of 69 domestic games. Craig Levein made two changes to the team that started against Celtic as John Souttar and Anthony McDonald came in for Jamie Brandon and Ross Callachan.

Saints get the first half kicked off and the first chance of the game fell to Richard Foster on 8 minutes as his cross from the right-hand side met Blair Alston's head however his header went well wide of the target from 12 yards out.

A corner on 17 minutes was swung in from the right. It was fizzed into Alston who struck it on the half volley however it struck a few bodies and was easy takings for Hearts keeper Jon McLaughlin.

An in-swinging Don Cowie cross on 20 minutes found John Souttar inside the Saints box but Zander Clark gathered his looping header on the line.

Then on 32 minutes Alston had a shot from 30 yards which the goalkeeper dropped at first but reacted quickly to gather the ball.

Saints were denied an opener on 37 minutes as an Alston corner picked out Anderson at the back post. The Saints defender then headed it back across goal to Joe Shaughnessy whose header was tipped over the bar by McLaughlin. First real chance and Saints should have capitalised on it.

There were no changes at half time as Hearts kick off the second half.

On 53 minutes Liam Craig, did well to break up a Hearts counter before sending Stefan Scougall away down the right. He then cut inside to get a shot away, but was unable to connect with much power.

A Hearts attack on 57 minutes down the left-hand side saw a Michael Smith cross go over Foster's head. Anderson then swung his boot at it and just as it looked certain to nestle in the bottom corner, Clark dived low to his left to push the ball wide.

A Connor Randell cross for Hearts on 62 minutes went across the face of the Saints goal picking out Kyle Lafferty whose shot went wide of the target. The Northern Irishman should have finished it and put his team into the lead however his connection with the ball was poor.

A minute later David Wotherspoon came on for Scougall. The midfielder almost made an immediate impact as he ran down the right channel and then cut inside to have a shot. However, McLaughlin tipped the effort around the post for a corner.

Then on 77 minutes the visitors were reduced to 10 men as Harry Cochrane was shown a second yellow card for a clumsy challenge on Blair Alston on the touchline.

Saints looked to push to open the scoring with their man advantage in the closing stages however, they failed to do so and the game ended level with both sides having a go but fundamentally neither team did enough to justify winning the game.

Saints: Clark, Tanser, Alston, Shaughnessy, Anderson, Millar (O'Halloran 74), Johnstone, Paton, Foster, Scougall (Wotherspoon 63), Craig (MacLean 81).

Unused Substitutes: Mannus (GK), McClean, Gordon, Cummins

Booked: Paton

Hearts: McLaughlin, Randall, Souttar, Berra, Smith (Grzelak 90), Buaben, Cowie, McDonald (Walker 74), Cochrane, Milinkovic, Lafferty (Isma 86).

Unused Substitutes: Hamilton (GK), Hughes, Stockton, Brandon.

Booked: Cowie, Cochrane

Sent Off: Cochrane

Referee: Kevin Clancy

Attendance: 4,975

Match Report by Ruairidh Smith

Picture: Joe Shaughnessy heads the ball towards goal