Saturday 11th March
Goals from Paul Paton and Blair Alston ensured Saints made it back-to-back home wins over Dundee this season, a result that takes St. Johnstone ten points clear of their Tayside rivals in the table.
The win, which ended a run of three successive home defeats, puts Saints nine points clear of 7th place Kilmarnock in the charge for a top six finish.
Saints headed into Saturday’s derby with Dundee looking to bounce back from the late winner they conceded at Ibrox a week and a half ago. Goalscores Anderson and Wotherspoon missed out throught injury, as Saints brought Liam Craig back into the starting XI, having missed out against Rangers through suspension.
Dundee kicked off, shooting into the Ormond Stand, but it was Saints who created the first chance, as an inch perfect MacLean cross was headed into the arms of Bain; the Irishman passing up a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring early on.
But Saints did take the lead after 11 minutes, as Graham Cummins beautifully teed up ex-Dundee United captain Paul Paton to score a wonderful header over Bain. 1-0.
Swanson then came close as MacLean opened up the Dundee defence, and his pass to Cummins was knocked down to the winger who volleyed just wide.
But Saints made it 2-0 after 18 minutes as Blair Alston rifled in a twenty yard effort which flew past Bain, as the home fans exploded. 2-0.
Saints continued to press, and an outstanding counter attack which featured brilliant link up play from Foster and MacLean culminated in Swanson attempting a chip when perhaps a driven shot would have been the better option.
Veteran striker MacLean was next to try his luck, but the Scottish Cup winner’s shot from 16 yards was parried over on 42 minutes. He came close again from the resulting corner, but Bain held his hooked shot on the line to deny the striker again.
Saints asserted their dominance and another quick counter finished with Alston teeing up Foster who had thundered forward from defence, but his low drive beat both goalkeeper and post.
The teams went in for half time with the hosts 2-0 to the good, and Tommy Wright’s side would be looking to build on their fantastic start in the second period. Half time: St Johnstone 2-0 Dundee.
Saints got the second half underway, and Calrk was forced into an early save from Haber, denying the Canadian from close range.
Saints countered, however, but Liam Craig could only drag his long rnge effort wide after tenacious work from Swanson.
Paul Paton almost doubled his tally for the season from 30 yards, as his rasping drive flew inches wide, with Bain all but beaten.
Dundee’s first switch was replacing Ojamaa with El Bakhtaoui on 55 minutes.
Saints were relentless in their attack, and MacLean’s deflected half-volley almost crept in, but Main recovered in time.
On 61 minutes, Craig tried again from the edge of the area, but his effort was eventually turned over by teammate Alston, as Saints were creating chance after chance.
The partnership of Alston and MacLean was tearing Dundee apart, and a Macca backheel in the box saw Alston attempt to squeeze another near post finish in, but his effort was matched by Bain.
Dundee’s second switch saw Danny Williams replace Wighton with just under 20 minutes to go.
Saints made their first change on 77 minutes, replacing Swanson with Murray Davidson.
El Bakhtaoui produced Dundee’s best effort in 80 minutes, volleying a Williams corner goalward, but his effort was blocked.
Saints second change was replacing the fantastic Alston with Craig Thomson.
And it finished at 2-0, a comprehensive performance from St Johnstone in a match where stand-in captain Brian Easton picked up the man of the match award for a solid performance.
Saints: Clark, Foster, Shaughnessy, Scobbie, Easton, Alston (Thomson, 88), Paton, Craig, Swanson (Davidson, 77), Cummins, MacLean. Unused subs: Mannus, Smith, Watson, Hurst, Hunter.
Goals: Paton (11), Alston (18)
Dundee: Bain, Kerr, O’Dea, Gadzhalov, Holt, O’Hara, McGowan, Vincent, Wighton (Williams, 71), Haber, Ojamaa (El Bakhtaoui, 55). Unused subs: Hately, Williams, Ross, Klok, Ferie, Gomis.
Attendance: 4,195 Referee: Andrew Dallas Man of the Match: Blair Alston
Match Report by Ross Gardiner.
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