St Johnstone 0-0 Dundee Utd

By Stevie MillerBBC Sport Scotland at McDiarmid Park

St Johnstone remain in search of their first win of the season after a goalless draw against Dundee United.

The Tayside derby atmosphere led to a first half which, while open, contained little fluid, passing football.

The ball spent less time in the air after the break and Saints' Nigel Hasselbaink squandered the best chance.

The Dutchman worked his way into a shooting position 12 yards out but could not beat Radoslaw Cierniak, with Rowan Vine firing the rebound over.

The share of the spoils keeps United securely ensconced at the top end of the Scottish Premier League, but also leaves the hosts just as solidly fixed at the wrong end of the table.

Both sides went into the match looking to bounce back from defeats last weekend.

But, while United's defeat seemed only a blip after an impressive start to the campaign, Saints started the day sat eleventh in the table with only one point from four games.

United fielded striker Johnny Russell but Gary Mackay-Steven missed out with a hamstring injury, with both players having been the subject of failed deadline-day transfer bids from Huddersfield Town,

Peter Pawlett, on loan from Aberdeen, made his first start for the hosts, coming in for Hasselbaink while Gary Miller replacing Callum Davidson.

The opening stages of the game were swathed in sunshine and United's John Rankin dazzled the Saints defence before lashing his shot wide.

It was an open game, with both sides probing, and Pawlett flashed the ball across the face of goal, with Vine muscled out of a second chance.

United began to exert some authority in midfield and their fans were on their feet when Russell teed up Willlo Flood, whose shot flew just the wrong side of the post.

The home side could still create on the break and the lively Pawlett beat Barry Douglas with a nutmeg at the edge of the box before firing in a powerful left-footed strike from a tight angle that Radoslaw Cierniak parried.

Stuart Armstrong then went on a similar run for the visitors, stinging Alan Mannus' gloves with rasping drive of his own.

All the attacking intent from Saints was coming from the right wing, and Vine sent a teasing cross over which Pawlett volleyed over.

Saints were enjoying a spell of pressure as the first half drew to a close, with Liam Craig fizzing a free-kick just wide but, like the week before against Hibs, they lacked a cutting edge up front.

'Calm down' appeared to have been the message in both dressing rooms, as a greater focus was placed on keeping the ball down in the early stages of the second half, although the less frantic approach did not necessarily lead to more chances.

It took almost 12 minutes of second-half passing before either side had a shot and, when it finally came from the boot of Pawlett, the effort would have been more effective on a rugby pitch.

Saints were looking the more likely and Gregory Tade should perhaps have done better when he spun and shot from the edge of the six-yard box from Murray Davidson's through header.

Saints substitute Hasselbaink forced a save by Cierniak and Vine's follow-up flew over as the match entered its closing stages.

And, as grey clouds darkened the sky over Perth after another winless afternoon, they matched the mood of the Saints fans; there may be stormy days ahead for manager Steve Lomas.

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