Saints 1-0 Hearts

Wednesday 17th May

Chris Kane scored in the 25th minute of his first start after returning from injury to win the three points for Saints and make it four wins out of four at home to Hearts this season.

Late on, substitute Liam Craig looked to have got the home side a second on 86 minutes but his effort was ruled out for offside. But Saints managed to see the game out to earn their 17th league win of the season on May 17th.

Danny Swanson, making his last appearance for St. Johnstone, was given a standing ovation from the McDiarmid Park faithful, while the match also marked Brian Easton's 150th for the club.

Post match reaction from Tommy Wright can be found HERE.

MATCH REPORT

Despite having secured fourth place and Europa League football on Saturday against Partick Thistle, Saints fielded a strong team against Hearts on Wednesday night, looking to seize the opportunity to beat their record top flight points total with a win. Chris Millar, Craig Thomson and Chris Kane came in for MacLean, Paton and Craig and Danny Swanson made his final appearance for St Johnstone, as he is suspended for Sunday’s end of season clash with Rangers.

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Hearts kicked off, shooting into the Ormond Stand, but it was Saints who carved out the game’s first real chance after just two minutes, as Scobbie hooked a Shaughnessy cutback at goal, but the defender’s acrobatic effort was blocked on the line by Smith.

The defender’s effort was replicated five minutes later by Chris Kane, however the young striker’s attempt flew over.

Richard Foster played a fantastic looping ball over the Hearts defence, and Chris Kane was unlucky to drag his volley wide, unaware of how much time he had.

Saints opened the scoring in style on 25 minutes after beautiful build up play. Easton gathered possession in his own half before driving forward and setting up Swanson who treaded a perfect pass through to Kane who flicked his effort beyond Noring. 1-0.

It was ten minutes until Saints next real chance, and a brilliant run from Thomson culminated in the winger’s cross finding Kane, whose volley beat keeper and post. The experienced Hearts defence were struggling to control the attacker.

Hearts’ first effort came on 38 minutes when Johnsen struck a curling effort from 25 yards, but Mannus burst into life and kept the strike out with an excellent diving save.

Kane could have had a hatrick by half time, and with just a minute to go, the youngster rattled the crossbar from 30 yards, and Graham Cummins was unlucky to volley the rebound wide.

The teams went in at 1-0, with Saints firmly in control. Tommy Wright’s side would be looking to continue their fine play in the second half and claim the three points needed to secure their best even total. HT: St Johnstone 1-0 Hearts.

Sains got the second half underway, after Hearts swapped Johnsen for Currie at the break.

The first real chance came on 54 minutes, when a free kick broke to Thomson, whose cross was backheeled towards goal by that man Chris Kane, however Noring held it at the near post, having looked to have been creeping in.

Mannus did well to tip a deflected Djoum effort over, as the midfielder’s strike came off Scobbie and looked to have sneaked into the top corner, but for the Northern-Irishman’s fingertips.

Hearts switched Martin for Walker on the hour mark, as they looked to get back into the game.

Wotherspoon and Millar both had long range drives blocked as Saints continued to press, and Danny Swanson was unlucky to see a penalty claim ignored by Robertson on 64 minutes.

With 25 minutes to go, Saints swapped Thomson for Alston, after the youngster had impressed linking up with Kane.

Graham Cummins reacted to a Wotherspoon drive moments later, but the striker couldn’t poke the former Hibs man’s shot home.

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On 70 minutes, Tommy Wright brought on Coulson for Swanson, as the winger was given a final standing ovation after a fantastic second spell with the club.

Hearts final change was to replace Nicholson with Choulay.

With just over ten minutes to go, Walker came close with a burst amidst a tangle of defenders, but Mannus matched his effort.

Saints last switch was to bring on Liam Craig for Chris Millar with ten minutes remaining.

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With four minutes to go, substitute Craig had the ball in the net, however he was adjudged to have been in an offside position before poking home the rebound from a Coulson strike.

Mannus saved a late free kick from Hearts, and despite pressure from Ian Cathro’s men, the Saints defence wasn’t to be breached. Full time: St Johnstone 1-0 Hearts.

Saints: Mannus, Foster, Shaughnessy, Scobbie, Easton, Thomson (Alston, 66), Wotherspoon, Millar (Craig, 80), Swanson (Coulson, 70), Cummins, Kane. Unused subs: Clark, Anderson, MacLean, Gilchrist.

Goals: Kane (25)

Hearts: Noring, Tziolis, Hughes, Cowie, Djoum, Nicholson (Choulay, 76), Nowak, Johnsen (Currie, 46), Smith, Goncalves, Martin (Walker, 60). Unused subs: Hamilton, Kitchen, Avlonitis, Brandon.

Booked: Johnsen (27)

Attendance: 3141 Referee: Don Robertson Man of the Match: Chris Kane

Match Report by Ross Gardiner.