Saints 1-1 Ross County

Saturday 12th May

A late David Wotherspoon goal rescued a point for Saints as they brought their season to a close against Ross County this afternoon.

The Staggies were looking to better Partick Thistle’s result at Dundee if they wanted to avoid automatic relegation in the final Ladbrokes Premiership game of the season and the visitors took an early lead through a Craig Curran goal.

However, Saints battled back and they netted an injury time goal as David Wotherspoon fired an excellent effort home to earn Saints a point with the last kick of the game and seal The Staggies fate.

Following today’s result along with Motherwell’s win against Hamilton Accies, Saints finish the season in eighth place in the Ladbrokes Premiership with 46 points.

At the end of the game Saints said goodbye to three club legends as Alan Mannus, Chris Millar and Steven MacLean all said their farewells.

MATCH REPORT

Saints met Ross County for the final game of the 2017/18 season at McDiarmid Park this afternoon. Tommy Wright made three changes to the team that started in the victory against Hamilton at New Douglas Park in midweek. He brought in Alan Mannus, as he made his final appearance in front of the Saints supporters before heading back to Shamrock Rovers, Aaron Comrie and Ali McCann to replace Zander Clark, Richard Foster and the injured Matty Willock.

Saints got the game underway. However, with just 3 minutes gone, Ross County hit the first blow. A mistake from Liam Gordon let County collect the ball at the edge of the penalty area and Craig Curran bundled the ball beyond Alan Mannus at the back post after a scuffed shot.

The visitors now had their tails up as they sensed they could get the win that would see them avoid automatic relegation and Michael Gardyne managed to find himself some space in the Saints box and turned to shoot but Mannus held well to keep it at 1-0.

There was then a shout for a penalty for Saints after a free kick was floated in by Joe Shaughnessy. David Wotherspoon took a great touch and found Scott Tanser, who managed to turn and was clearly brought down, the players and crowds pleas were waved away from Nick Walsh and County cleared their lines.

Saints began to pile on pressure and on 23 minutes some great play from Saints found Tanser on the left in space and he attempted to beat County keeper Scott Fox but his effort was only just over the bar.

Play then swung to the other end and a great attempt from Matias Käit just inside the box saw Mannus beat but the crossbar came to the rescue for Saints and it stayed 1-0.

Saints defender Liam Gordon then made a great block to deny Gardyne adding to the score. The County man had weaved his way through the defence but Gordon stuck with him and made an important interception to keep the score as it was.

Just before the break Alan Mannus had to be at his best to tip a Curran shot from distance over the bar, the resulting corner from Gardyne came to nothing.

Before Ross County could get the second half underway Saints made a change as Stefan Scougall came on for Aaron Comrie.

Saints came out of the traps quick at the start of the second half as some great attacking play from George Williams on the left set David McMillan on his way heading towards the goal in front of the Ormand Stand but some great last ditch defending from Ross County denied the Irishman a shooting opportunity.

With just under an hour on the clock, the Saints supporters gave Chris Millar a standing ovation as he made his way onto the pitch for his final appearance as a Saints player, replacing Ali McCann.

On 69 minutes, great work from Millar and Williams down the left played in McMillan whose effort found the back of the net however the Main Stand Assistant flagged for offside.

The visitors then missed a glaring opportunity to put themselves 2 up as Curran somehow missed from no less than 6 yards out and Saints were given yet another lifeline.

Saints continued to press for an equaliser and on 89 minutes Fox made a great save from to deny David Wotherspoon in the box after a great ball from Callum Hendry, picked out the Saints midfielder.

However, Spoony was not to be denied in stoppage time as he netted a last gasp equaliser which saw let the Saints fans breathe a sigh of relief. Some brilliant work down the right-hand side from Hendry and Shaughnessy saw the former send the ball over to Wotherspoon and he made sure there was enough power behind the shot as he unleashed an excellent strike that hit the back of the net. The visiting players slumped to the ground when the ball hit the back of the net realising that relegation was now inevitable.

Saints’ last performance was not spectacular but David Wotherspoon’s last minute goal grabbed a point for the Perth men. However, Motherwell’s 3-0 won at Fir Park against Hamilton Accies means that Saints will finish eighth in the Ladbrokes Premiership this season.

Saints: Mannus, Tanser, Shaughnessy, Kerr, Gordon, Comrie (Scougall 45), Davidson, Wotherspoon, Williams (Hendry 74), McCann (Millar 58), McMillan

Unused Substitutes: Clark (GK), Anderson, Foster, Craig.

Booked: Davidson, Kerr

Scorer: Wotherspoon (90)

Ross County: Fox, Fraser, Naismith, Gardyne, Curran, Davies (Souttar 14), Draper, Lindsay, McKay (Schalk 74), Fontaine, Käit (O’Brien 85)

Unused Substitutes: McCarey (GK), N’Gog, Melbourne, Keillor-Dunn

Booked: Fraser, Käit

Scorer: Curran (3)

Referee: Nick Walsh

Attendance: 3,279

Match report written by Hannah Klatschak

Picture: Alan Mannus, who was the Saints captain today, and Chris Millar lead the teams out ahead of kick off