Saints 2-4 Ross County

Despite Saints pulling the game back to 3-2 after being three goals behind, an 83rd minute goal from Liam Boyce killed off St. Johnstone's fight back and gave Ross County their first win since late August.

A Danny Swanson penalty (64) and a 79th minute strike from Steven MacLean turned out to be consolations after the visitors had gone 3-0 up through McEverley (24), Routis (37) and Curran (62).

The game also saw Tam Scobbie and Alan Mannus make their first appearances in a Saints shirt since August, coming on for Joe Shaughnessy and Zander Clark respectively.

Despite the scoreline, Saints remain in 5th position in the Scottish Premiership table. Their next fixture is a home match with Inverness CT on Saturdy 3rd December.

MATCH REPORT

Saints headed into Saturday’s clash with Ross County looking to start a run of form towards the winter break on the back of the international break. Saints started with Clark in goal, after Mannus put in a hard fought appearance against Croatia midweek for Northern Ireland.

Saints got off to a bright start as Alston’s header was nodded behind for a corner, and the resulting corner was eventually smashed into the box by Anderson, but the captain’s attempt was met a tangle of legs and was cleared.

After some early sparring, an Alston dink transformed into a deceiving shot which almost caught Fox out at his back post, but it bobbled wide.

Steven MacLean then found himself 1-on-1 with Fox, but the striker’s heavy touch let him down with only the keeper to beat.

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County threatened with a deep free kick, but Gardyne’s blasted effort was deflected over.

From the resulting corner, Andrew Davies nodded the ball over Clark to open the scoring on 24 minutes. 0-1.

Two minutes later, Clark denied County another, but the goalkeeper took a knock, but after a stoppage in play, he soldiered on.

But County did get their second, on 37 minutes, as Routis headed in a cross unmarked. 0-2.

After a start-stop first half, the referee blew to signal the break at the end of five additional minutes and Saints had it all to do. HT: 0-2.

At half time, Saints switched Kane for Craig and Shaughnessy for Scobbie, while County changed goalkeeper bringing on McCarey for Fox who took a knock in the first few minutes of the first half.

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Saints promptly matched the visitors by bringing on Mannus for Clark, who hadn’t managed to shake off his first half injury.

After a quiet spell, County added a third, countering well to see Craig Curran head a Burke cross home from 6 yards, with the striker being in acres of space. 0-3.

Saints retaliated immediately, with Paton striking into the empty net, but for the hand of defender McEverley. Swanson netted the subsequent penalty with aplomb. 1-3.

County brought on Alex Schalk with 13 minutes to go, replacing Curran as the game began to fizzle out.

With 11 minutes to play, however, an excellent Easton cross was converted by MacLean, to light up the closing stages. 2-3.

However a deflected Boyce header moments later put the game to bed. 2-4.

County’s final switch was to replace Chris Burke with Ryan Dow.

Despite 4 minutes of injury time, Saints couldn’t claw anything back and will be very disappointed with the result. Full time: St Johnstone 2-4 Ross County.

St Johnstone: Clark (Mannus 50), Foster, Shaughnessy (Scobbie, 46), Anderson, Easton, Paton, Swanson, Alston, Craig (Kane, 46), Wotherspoon, MacLean. Unused subs: Coulson, Gordon, Cummins, McLaren.

Goals: Swanson (64), MacLean (79)

Ross County: Fox (McCarey, 46), Fraser, Davies, Routis, McEverley, Burke (Dow, 86), van der Weg, Chow, Gardyne, Boyce, Curran (Schalk ,77). Unused subs: Dingwall, McShane, Cikos, Morrison.

Goals: McEverley (24), Routis (37), Curran (62), Boyce (83)

Attendance: 2554 Referee: John Beaton Man of the Match: Danny Swanson

Match Report by Ross Gardiner.