Saints 1-0 St. Mirren

Saints looked to kick on after the international break by putting their poor form since the winter break behind them.

Liam Gordon came into the starting XI along with Matty Kennedy as Saints welcomed the SPFL Scottish Premiership’s bottom club to McDiarmid Park. The match was the first of four in ten days for Tommy Wright’s men, a rescheduled match which was snowed off earlier in March.

Matty Kennedy got the game underway, and the Perth Saints had the first real chance of the game when Chris Kane flicked a long ball over the Buddies back line and smashed a volley at goal which was tipped over.

St Mirren, though, were awarded an early route towards the points as Jason Kerr pushed down Brad Lyons in the box and ref McLean pointed to the spot.

Simeon Jackson hit a low panenka penalty down the middle, but Zander Clark on his return from injury came up trumps and saved the penalty with complete composure. 0-0.

On 11 minutes, St Mirren countered through the middle and Jackson had another shot at goal, but his low drive was easily gathered by Clark.

And from the goalkeeper’s outball, Saints ran straight up the park and after a mix up at the back, Chris Kane coolly slotted home his second goal of the season and gave Saints the lead. 1-0.

Saints nearly added a second on 18 minutes as Murray Davidson broke down the left, but his cross was intercepted before Kennedy could double Saints’ advantage.

Chris Kane was in his element and after winning a succession of free kicks, Liam Craig’s delivery was flicked goalward by Liam Gordon, who was denied his first Saints goal by the stretching Hladky.

The Perth men had been dominant since Zander’s spot kick stop, and Ross Callachan nodded a Foster cross at goal, but just couldn’t get enough of a connection to beat the keeper.

Buddies stopper Vaclav Hladky went into the book for arguing with ref McLean after an altercation between Davidson and Popescu on the edge of the area.

Oran Kearney’s side almost carved a route back into the game in the last five minutes of the half as a deep cross wasn’t cleared but Jackson couldn’t find a clinical touch to convert.

A late short free kick saw Kennedy drag three men out of the box and the return delivery culminated in Jason Kerr having his shot blocked.

The teams went in at the break with the Perth men a goal to the good and Tommy Wright would be looking for more of the same in the second half.

St Mirren got the second half underway but the first chance again fell to the hosts, as Callachan saw a teed up strike from the edge of the area blocked by a tangle of legs in the box.

A slip from Shaughnessy let the Buddies counter on 50 minutes, but a great slide from Callachan gave Saints enough time to regroup and force Jackson into skying his strike.

Saints first switch came on 68 minutes as Kennedy, who had run himself into the ground, was replaced by Tony Watt.

As St Mirren ramped up the pressure, Murray Davidson had a golden opportunity to wrap up the points on 73 minutes, but ten yards out, the midfielder couldn’t control Callachan’s through ball.

St Mirren scrambled the loose ball out for a corner, then hooked a Kane header off the line before braking through sub Nazon. The Haitian twisted and turned in the box, but Popescu blasted his lay off over.

Tony Watt marched forward in possession as he looked to seal the win for Saints, and after being tackled in the box, the second ball was smashed at goal by Tanser, but a St Mirren body on the line kept the gap at one goal.

Liam Craig went off for treatment after getting a head knock with less than ten minutes on the clock, but the long serving midfielder returned to play.

St Mirren went down to ten men on 87 minutes when Ethan Erhahon saw red for a cynical lunge on Richard Foster.

The fourth official indicated three minutes of additional time, but St Mirren couldn’t draw level, and it was the Perth side who finished the match a man and a goal to the good. Full time: St Johnstone 1-0 St Mirren.

Saints: Clark, Foster, Kerr, Shaughnessy, Gordon, Davidson, Callachan, Craig, Kennedy (Watt, 68), Kane. Unused subs: Bell, Swanson, Comrie, O’Halloran, Goss, Northcott.

Goals: Kane (12)

St Mirren: Hladky, McGinn, Muzek, Flynn (Nazon 55), Jackson, Lyons, Baird, Popescu, McAllister (Dreyer 65), MacPherson, Erhahon. Unused subs: Wilson, MacKenzie, Cooke, Corbu, Ferdinand.

Booked: Hladky Sent off: Erhahon

Attendance: 2,888 Referee: Steven McLean Man of the Match: Chris Kane

Match report by Ross Gardiner.