Saturday 25th February
St. Johnstone lost at home to Kilmarnock this afternoon after putting on a disappointing display in front of 2,893 spectators at McDiarmid Park.
A defensive mix up resulted in Rory McKenzie putting Killie ahead after 11 minutes before a Connor Sammon goal wrapped up the win with 20 minutes remaining.
Saints will be looking to bounce back on Wednesday night when we travel to Ibrox to take on third placed Rangers.
Saints headed into Saturday’s tie with Killie looking to build on their fine win over Ross County last weekend. Chris Kane started and Richard Foster moved into midfield, making way for Scobbie to join the defence as Saints fielded a side without Swanson, Davidson or Craig amongst others sidelined through injury and suspension.
Saints kicked off, shooting into the North Stand, but it was Killie who carved out the first chance after Alston conceded a free kick on the edge of the box, however Clark was alert early doors to deny Boyd.
However after 11 minutes Rory McKenzie opened the scoring from distance as a bouncing aerial backpass from Anderson is only half cleared by Clark and the wingers lobbed effort evaded everyone. 0-1.
Wotherspoon began the Saints’ retaliation with a driven free kick from range, but his effort was well held.
Killie showed no sign of slowing up, and Conor Sammon saw his shot from the edge of the box parried wide.
Clark then saved Saints as he twice denied Longstaff from inside the six yard box as Killie asserted their dominance.
A brilliant string of passes between Kane and MacLean teed up Wotherspoon whose blasted effort was blocked inside the six yard box.
Steven MacLean came close to heading Saints level with seven minutes of the first half to go, but sandwiched between two defenders, his effort looped over.
As injury time loomed, Alston came closest for Saints with a volley which was just too high for him, and his effort sailed wide. Saints had it all to do in the second half. HT: St Johnstone 0-1 Kilmarnock.
Killie got the second half underway, and Brian Easton was presented a brilliant opportunity to equalise within two minutes but slipped and skewed his effort.
Foster was next to come close as a surging run from Alston culminated in the right back getting e shot in on his weaker foot just inside the box, but his shot was blocked by Ajer.
Saints first switch was to replace Millar with Paton after 58 minutes.
Saints continued to press but Killie doubled their lead with 20 minutes to go through Conor Sammon, as the Irishman’s close range header crept under Clark’s arms 0-2.
Saints responded by bringing on Coulson for Scobbie in an attempt to claw the game back.
Saints were quick to apply more pressure and Chris Kane was unlucky to see his snapshot on the turn deflected wide.
Saints final change was to replace Alston with Thomson, as the youngster made his first appearance since returning from his loan spell at Stranraer.
In injury time, Killie replaces Longstaff with Smith.
Tommy Wright’s side couldn’t break down the Killie defence, and Chris Kane’s deflected injury time volley was as close as they came to scoring. Full time: St Johnston 0-2 Kilmarnock.
Saints: Clark, Scobbie (Coulson, 72), Alston (Thomson, 82), Anderson, Millar (Paton, 58), MacLean Wotherspoon, Shaughnessy, Foster, Easton, Kane. Unused subs: Mannus, Smith, Hunter, Jardine.
Kilmarnock: Woodman, Hendrie, Boyd, Ajer, Taylor, Jones, Longstaff (Smith, 90), Dicker, McKenzie, Sammon, Boyd. Unused subs: MacDonald, Tyson, Umerah, Frizzell, Roberts, Wilson.
Goals: McKenzie (11), Sammon (70)
Attendance: 2,793 Referee: Don Robertson Man of the match: Richard Foster
Match report by Ross Gardiner
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