St Johnstone's good away form continued with a narrow victory in their Europa League third qualifying round first leg tie against FC Minsk.

Stevie MacLean struck with almost 70 minutes on the clock in Grodno to give the Perth men a valuable away goal.

Mikita Bukatkin was unlucky for the hosts in the early stages with a shot that fizzed wide.

Murray Davidson provided an attacking threat in the second half as Tommy Wright's men held out for the win.

Having already knocked out Norwegian side Rosenborg, the Perth outfit followed that feat up with an impressive success in Belarus.

MacLean bagged the winner with 22 minutes left in Grodno - 140 miles west of the former Soviet state's capital, where Minsk's stadium is being redeveloped - to put Saints on course for the play-off round.

Visa delays and expensive air fares meant the Perth side travelled behind the former Iron Curtain with just one solitary supporter for backing - an exiled Scot living locally.

Minsk threatened within the opening moments when Roman Vasilyuk teed up Nikita Bukatkin with a rolled cut-back but his drive from 22 yards was off target.

MacLean brought out home keeper Vladimir Bushma's first save on 12 minutes as he turned Dave MacKay's cross goalwards.

Bushma had to punch clear from Tam Scobbie's cross as David Wotherspoon lurked at the back post while Nigel Hasselbaink tempted Minsk right-back Aleksandr Sverchinski into collecting the game's first booking with two fouls inside as many minutes.

A Milos Rnic trip on Wotherspoon seven minutes before the break set up MacKay to pick out Hasselbaink with a free-kick but the Dutch forward shot straight at Bushma.

Minsk midfielder Sergei Kozeka saw a decent opportunity blocked by Steven Anderson just seconds into the second half as the centre-half bravely stood his ground.

Murray Davidson's return to the Saints side - after re-signing last week - came just four minutes after the restart and the Scotland international made an immediate impression, coming close with a pair of headed opportunities.

Bookings for Wotherspoon and MacKay gave St Johnstone reason to be wary as Polish referee Marcin Borski proved to be overly officious but an offside flag soon came to Wright's side rescue as Dmitri Gorbushin looked to gallop through on Allan Mannus in the Perth goal.

The hour mark brought about another decent opening for Saints as Wotherspoon drove in from the left-hand side but Hasselbaink failed to read his low cut-back as the forward dashed into the Minsk box.

But within eight minutes St Johnstone had edged themselves in front as MacLean, collecting Liam Caddis' pass, took advantage of space in the box to shoot early on the right-hand side of the box, burying the ball under Bushma.

Some desperate defending was required in the final minutes as Minsk threw a couple of worrying crosses into the Saints box but Mannus and his back four stood strong to ensure they return home packing another impressive result.

Match Stats

Shots

7 7

On target

1 4

Corners

4 2

Fouls

16 12

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +4:10 Full time

Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows the whistle.

90:00 +3:48

Roman Vasilyuk sends in a cross. Header by Aleksandr Sachivko goes to the left of the goal.

90:00 +2:59 Booking

Booking

90:00 +2:54

Foul by Murray Davidson on Roman Vasilyuk, free kick awarded. Murray Davidson goes into the referee's book. Free kick crossed by Roman Vasilyuk restarts the game.

89:31

Milos Rnic fouled by Stevie May, the ref awards a free kick. Aleksandr Sachivko restarts play with the free kick.

88:16

Unfair challenge on Steven Anderson by Roman Vasilyuk results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Steven Anderson.

87:32

Sergey Sosnovskiy challenges Steven Anderson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Alan Mannus.

86:52

Corner from the right by-line taken by Roman Vasilyuk. Thomas Scobbie makes a clearance.

86:43

Vitali Kibuk sends in a cross. Clearance made by Frazer Wright.

85:47 Substitution

Substitution Sergei Kozeka leaves the field to be replaced by Artem Buloychik.

85:09

Sergei Kozeka decides to take the corner short.

84:20 Substitution

Substitution David Wotherspoon goes off and Brian Easton comes on.

81:14 Booking

Booking

81:12

Nikita Bukatkin challenges Steven MacLean unfairly and gives away a free kick. The referee cautions Nikita Bukatkin for unsporting behaviour. David MacKay crosses the ball in from the free kick. Vladimir Bushma safely holds on.

80:49

The referee gives a free kick against Stevie May for handball. Sergey Sosnovskiy takes the free kick.

79:36

Handball by Milos Rnic. Thomas Scobbie crosses the ball in from the free kick. Vladimir Bushma catches the ball.

79:12

Aleksandr Makas is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Alan Mannus.

77:59 Substitution

Substitution Aleksandr Makas on for Roman Begunov.

77:04

Shot by Murray Davidson missed to the left of goal.

75:08

Nikita Bukatkin gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Thomas Scobbie. Free kick taken by Alan Mannus.

73:40

Shot by Nikita Bukatkin went wide right of the post.

72:17

Corner taken by David Wotherspoon from the right by-line. Parried by Vladimir Bushma back into danger.Stevie May challenges Vladimir Bushma unfairly and gives away a free kick. Vladimir Bushma takes the free kick.

71:45

The referee penalises Vitali Kibuk for handball. Alan Mannus takes the free kick.

70:43

Shot by Nikita Bukatkin went over the net.

70:00

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nikita Bukatkin by Patrick Cregg. Aleksandr Sachivko restarts play with the free kick.

69:25 Substitution

Substitution Aleksei Belevich on for Dmitri Gorbushin.

68:06

The assist for the goal came from Liam Caddis.

68:06 Goal scored

Goal! - Steven MacLean - Minsk 0 - 1 St J'stone Steven MacLean scores with a right foot finish. Minsk 0-1 St Johnstone.

67:27 Substitution

Substitution Stevie May replaces Nigel Hasselbaink.

66:16

David Wotherspoon takes a shot and missed to the left of the net.

63:19

A cross is delivered by Nikita Bukatkin. Frazer Wright manages to make a clearance. Corner taken by Sergei Kozeka. Clearance made by Thomas Scobbie.

59:50

A cross is delivered by David Wotherspoon.

59:15

The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Alan Mannus.

57:55 Booking

Booking

57:39

David MacKay challenges Milos Rnic unfairly and gives away a free kick. The referee cautions David MacKay for unsporting behaviour. Free kick crossed by Dmitri Gorbushin. Clearance by Steven Anderson.

56:34 Booking

Booking

56:24

Foul by David Wotherspoon on Nikita Bukatkin, free kick awarded. David Wotherspoon shown a yellow card. Sergei Kozeka restarts play with the free kick.

55:19

Vitali Kibuk challenges Nigel Hasselbaink unfairly and gives away a free kick. David Wotherspoon crosses the ball in from the free kick. Vladimir Bushma catches the ball.

54:49

Unfair challenge on Steven MacLean by Sergey Sosnovskiy results in a free kick. Free kick crossed by David Wotherspoon. Aleksandr Sachivko manages to make a clearance.

53:45

The referee penalises Murray Davidson for handball. Vladimir Bushma restarts play with the free kick.

53:28

Milos Rnic produces a cross. Frazer Wright manages to make a clearance.

51:02

Nikita Bukatkin concedes a free kick for a foul on Liam Caddis. Free kick crossed by David Wotherspoon. Milos Rnic makes a clearance. Corner from the right by-line taken by David Wotherspoon. Header at goal by Liam Caddis to the left of the net.

49:56 Substitution

Substitution Murray Davidson is brought on as a substitute for Gary McDonald.

48:44

Unfair challenge on Steven MacLean by Aleksandr Sachivko results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Thomas Scobbie.

48:02

The referee blows for offside against Vitali Kibuk. Free kick taken by Alan Mannus.

45:50

Steven MacLean gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Aleksandr Sachivko. Aleksandr Sachivko takes the free kick.

45:12

Sergei Kozeka takes a shot. Steven Anderson gets a block in.

45:01

The referee blows the whistle to start the second half.

45:00 +0:04 Half time

Half Time The referee blows for half time.

41:54

Nikita Bukatkin crosses the ball dead.

38:25

The ball is delivered by Nigel Hasselbaink. Clearance made by Sergey Sosnovskiy.

36:40

Milos Rnic concedes a free kick for a foul on David Wotherspoon. The ball is sent over by David MacKay. Nigel Hasselbaink takes a shot. Vladimir Bushma safely holds on.

35:32

A cross is delivered by Nikita Bukatkin. Steven Anderson makes a clearance. Corner taken by Aleksandr Sachivko.

34:29

Foul by Vitali Kibuk on Thomas Scobbie, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Thomas Scobbie.

30:58 Booking

Booking

30:51

Foul by Aleksandr Sverchinski on Nigel Hasselbaink, free kick awarded. Aleksandr Sverchinski goes into the book. Thomas Scobbie takes the free kick.

29:39

Free kick awarded for a foul by Aleksandr Sverchinski on Nigel Hasselbaink. David Wotherspoon crosses the ball in from the free kick. Vladimir Bushma catches the ball.

27:48

Steven MacLean takes a shot. Sergey Sosnovskiy gets a block in.

27:10

David Wotherspoon concedes a free kick for a foul on Milos Rnic. Milos Rnic restarts play with the free kick.

26:31

The ball is crossed by Thomas Scobbie. Vladimir Bushma gets a fist to the ball to punch .

23:13

Vitali Kibuk sends in a cross that goes out.

22:30

Shot by Roman Vasilyuk went wide of the right-hand post.

21:48

David Wotherspoon sends in a cross. Vladimir Bushma catches the ball.

20:46

Nigel Hasselbaink sends in a cross. Vladimir Bushma safely holds on.

20:22

Free kick awarded for a foul by Aleksandr Sverchinski on Nigel Hasselbaink. Thomas Scobbie takes the free kick.

17:39

Nigel Hasselbaink is penalised for a handball. Aleksandr Sachivko restarts play with the free kick.

15:34

Gary McDonald gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nikita Bukatkin. Nikita Bukatkin restarts play with the free kick.

15:01

Centre by Roman Vasilyuk. Clearance made by Frazer Wright.

14:11

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Roman Vasilyuk by Thomas Scobbie. Aleksandr Sverchinski restarts play with the free kick.

12:00

The ball is delivered by David MacKay. Steven MacLean takes a shot. Vladimir Bushma catches the ball.

10:46

Thomas Scobbie fouled by Roman Begunov, the ref awards a free kick. Alan Mannus takes the free kick.

9:26

A cross is delivered by Roman Vasilyuk. Nikita Bukatkin has an effort at goal and missed to the right of the target.

7:01

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Patrick Cregg by Roman Vasilyuk. Free kick crossed by Thomas Scobbie. Sergey Sosnovskiy makes a clearance.

5:56

The ball is sent over by Sergei Kozeka. Alan Mannus safely holds on.

4:31

Foul by Steven MacLean on Sergey Sosnovskiy, free kick awarded. Vladimir Bushma takes the free kick.

2:46

Free kick awarded for a foul by David Wotherspoon on Roman Vasilyuk. Aleksandr Sachivko produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick.

1:25

Foul by Vitali Kibuk on Thomas Scobbie, free kick awarded. Alan Mannus restarts play with the free kick.

0:00

The referee starts the match.

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