Scottish Premiership
Hearts0St Johnstone2

Hearts 0-2 St Johnstone

St Johnstone won the battle of two League Cup semi-finalists to send Hearts deeper into the relegation mire.

Hearts had the better of the early play but could not turn confident passing into goals.

It was Saints who supplied the clinical finishing as Nigel Hasselbaink headed the opener.

The Dutch striker should have added a second, but Stevie May's second-half strike secured Saints' first away league win of the season.

Hearts' position could have been even worse had St Mirren's match against Ross County not been abandoned because of heavy rain with the Paisley side 2-0 ahead.

However, the young Tynecastle side remain 15 points behind the second bottom Buddies.

And, while manager Gary Locke will not admit it, even this early in the season, they must be preparing for life in the Scottish Championship next season.

For all their youthful enthusiasm and energised by their midweek cup win over city rivals Hibernian, they did not look, against St Johnstone at least, to have that killer quality in front of goal that would enable them to go on the kind of winning run that will save them come May.

They did start the brighter, with Danny Wilson having a header saved by keeper Alan Mannus, Jamie Walker flashing a powerful drive wide and Jason Holt squandering an opening by firing wildly over.

Hearts' keeper Jamie MacDonald had been their midweek hero and he did well to block a close-range Hasselbaink effort off his line after May had weaved his way to the by-line.

That was a warning of what was to come as a Chris Millar cross was fortuitously deflected into the Hearts box and Hasselbaink headed home from eight yards out.

Hearts responded well and right-back Jordan McGhee found himself on the end of a Walker cross but could not get enough on the ball to turn it into the net in front of goal.

The diminutive Hasselbaink should have had a second headed goal shortly before the break only to nod over, but extension of Saints' lead was only briefly delayed.

The Perth side, themselves looking to build on a League Cup quarter-final victory over Morton, made a whirlwind start to the second half and had a couple of efforts cleared off the line.

MacDonald also saved from Garry MacDonald before May did find the net.

After the goalkeeper parried clear a Millar drive, May celebrated his 21st birthday a day early by steering the ball into the far corner from 15 yards.

Still Hearts would not accept their fate, a Dylan McGowan header flashing wide, while Holt and David Smith threatened from range.

However, a defence in which Tam Scobbie proved a sturdy replacement for suspended Frazer Wright, held firm to record their third win in seven days.

Line-ups

Hearts

  • 1MacDonald
  • 30McGhee
  • 3McHattie
  • 2Hamill
  • 5McGowan
  • 4Wilson
  • 12PatersonSubstituted forCarrickat 58'minutes
  • 8RobinsonSubstituted forSmithat 70'minutes
  • 7Stevenson
  • 15Holt
  • 14WalkerSubstituted forNicholsonat 55'minutes

Substitutes

  • 13Ridgers
  • 16McKay
  • 17Smith
  • 18Carrick
  • 20Tapping
  • 28Nicholson
  • 29Oliver

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 19Miller
  • 24B Easton
  • 8McDonaldSubstituted forJahicat 87'minutes
  • 2Mackay
  • 3Scobbie
  • 7Millar
  • 18Davidson
  • 11HasselbainkSubstituted forEdwardsat 75'minutes
  • 17May
  • 10WotherspoonSubstituted forCaddisat 90'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Cregg
  • 14Edwards
  • 15Banks
  • 16Caddis
  • 20Brown
  • 25Jahic
  • 27Fallon
Referee:
Bobby Madden
Attendance:
13,175

Match Stats

Home TeamHeartsAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home15
Away16
Shots on Target
Home2
Away7
Corners
Home5
Away4
Fouls
Home6
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Hearts 0, St Johnstone 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Hearts 0, St Johnstone 2.
Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by David Smith.
Foul by Ryan Stevenson (Hearts).
Murray Davidson (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Jason Holt (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Gwion Edwards (St Johnstone).

Substitution

Substitution, St Johnstone. Liam Caddis replaces David Wotherspoon.
Attempt missed. Murray Davidson (St Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is too high.
Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Jamie Hamill.

Substitution

Substitution, St Johnstone. Sanel Jahic replaces Gary McDonald.
Attempt missed. Dylan McGowan (Hearts) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.
Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Gary Miller.
Attempt saved. David Smith (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Attempt missed. Jason Holt (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.
David Smith (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Gary Miller (St Johnstone).

Substitution

Substitution, St Johnstone. Gwion Edwards replaces Nigel Hasselbaink.
Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Gary Miller.

Substitution

Substitution, Hearts. David Smith replaces Scott Robinson.
Attempt missed. Dylan McGowan (Hearts) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.
Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Thomas Scobbie.
Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Thomas Scobbie.
Attempt missed. Danny Wilson (Hearts) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.
Dale Carrick (Hearts) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Thomas Scobbie (St Johnstone).
Attempt missed. Nigel Hasselbaink (St Johnstone) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.
Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Danny Wilson.
Attempt missed. Dylan McGowan (Hearts) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Hand ball by Gary Miller (St Johnstone).

Substitution

Substitution, Hearts. Dale Carrick replaces Callum Paterson.
Attempt missed. Callum Paterson (Hearts) header from the centre of the box is too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Hearts. Sam Nicholson replaces Jamie Walker.
Attempt saved. Chris Millar (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Goal!

Goal! Hearts 0, St Johnstone 2. Steve May (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the top right corner.
Attempt saved. Gary McDonald (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Attempt blocked. David Wotherspoon (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. David Wotherspoon (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt saved. Gary McDonald (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Foul by Jason Holt (Hearts).
Murray Davidson (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Jordan McGhee (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.
Kevin McHattie (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Murray Davidson (St Johnstone).
Attempt blocked. Nigel Hasselbaink (St Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by Jamie Walker (Hearts).
Murray Davidson (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Second Half

Second Half begins Hearts 0, St Johnstone 1.

Half Time

First Half ends, Hearts 0, St Johnstone 1.
Attempt missed. Chris Millar (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.
Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Gary Miller.
Attempt missed. Nigel Hasselbaink (St Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.
Attempt missed. Jordan McGhee (Hearts) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.
Attempt blocked. Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Jason Holt (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Murray Davidson (St Johnstone).
Attempt blocked. Jamie Walker (Hearts) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.
Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Danny Wilson.

Goal!

Goal! Hearts 0, St Johnstone 1. Nigel Hasselbaink (St Johnstone) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Chris Millar.
Scott Robinson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Celtic118301327
2Inverness CT11713722
3Aberdeen11623620
4Motherwell11614-119
5St Johnstone12534618
6Dundee Utd12453817
7Hibernian11434-215
8Partick Thistle11344-213
9Ross County10316-810
10Kilmarnock12237-59
11St Mirren10226-118
12Hearts12228-11-7
View full Scottish Premiership table

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