Scottish Premiership
St Mirren0St Johnstone1

St Mirren 0-1 St Johnstone: Tony Watt nets late winner to push Saints into top six

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Highlights: St Mirren 0-1 St Johnstone

Tony Watt scored a dramatic 89th-minute winner over St Mirren to push St Johnstone into the Scottish Premiership's top six.

The striker's header made the difference in a dire contest, in which both sides struggled to create chances.

The best until Watt's late goal was the hosts' Adam Hammill shooting wide in the first half.

St Johnstone, who lost Murray Davidson to injury in the first half, leapfrog Livingston into sixth.

The home side, fresh from beating Motherwell on Saturday, could not replicate the heroics they displayed at Fir Park.

St Mirren go into the final game of the year just two points above bottom-side Dundee.

St Mirren pay price for 'lacking end product'

This was a little cruel on St Mirren, but St Johnstone maintained their fabulous away record, making it five successive wins on the road.

This was a match that took an hour or so to come to life, with both sides cancelling each other out for large chunks of the game.

So much of the action was played out in the middle third of the pitch, with neither team possessing the creative spark to carve open the opposing defence.

But just when it looked as if it was heading for a stalemate, up popped Watt with the crucial intervention.

Scott Tanser found space on the left to whip in a precision cross and the striker was ideally placed to head the ball in from inside the six-yard box.

The visitors, in truth, should have been ahead moments before when David Wotherspoon knocked a header down to Chris Kane, who inexplicably turned it wide of a post from close range.

St Mirren paid the price for lacking an end-product. They were first to suggest they might have a winner in them when Paul McGinn was picked out just outside the six-yard box but the wing-back took a touch rather than shoot first time and Ross Callachan was able to get back to block.

Moments later Cammy Smith tried his luck from the edge of the box and was unlucky to see it deflected just off target.

But that was all they could muster in front of goal and the visiting Saints made them pay.

Murray Davidson
An injury suffered by Murray Davidson was one of the few negatives for St Johnstone

'St Johnstone back on the rails' - analysis

This was a victory ground out by St Johnstone but, after a couple of home defeats, it will be no less enjoyable for that.

Their fabulous away record will be the envy of teams further up the league and keeps them in the mix in the ultra-competitive top eight.

Watt's return to the scoresheet came at a crucial time and sets them up nicely for Saturday's Tayside derby against Dundee.

St Mirren's inconsistency comes back to haunt them again. They have yet to record back-to-back league victories this season and that is a key factor in their lowly league position.

They matched St Johnstone for most of this game but never really looked like repeating the weekend victory over Motherwell.

'A draw would have been fair' - reaction

St Mirren manager Oran Kearney: "I'm disappointed. I think overall a draw would have been a fair result and it would have helped us along the way.

"The thing I've been saying over the last couple of months is when we've been on it we're good but also when we haven't there's been certain bits of games when we're not so good."

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright: "I think we deserved it. We created more chances and controlled large parts of the game but really pleased and great performance after losing two games.

"The one thing we've proved is we keep going till the end. We're trying to get Tony in the box more often and it's a great header from him that wins the game. That should do him a world of good."

Line-ups

St Mirren

  • 26Lyness
  • 15Baird
  • 35Ferdinand
  • 19Jones
  • 2McGinn
  • 4McGinn
  • 21Hodson
  • 39Erhahon
  • 10SmithSubstituted forFlynnat 75'minutes
  • 77Hammill
  • 11JacksonSubstituted forBreadnerat 84'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Flynn
  • 14Kirkpatrick
  • 16McShane
  • 25Rogers
  • 27Edwards
  • 36Jamieson
  • 40Breadner

St Johnstone

  • 1Clark
  • 19Foster
  • 5Shaughnessy
  • 15Kerr
  • 3Tanser
  • 33KennedySubstituted forKaneat 78'minutes
  • 8DavidsonSubstituted forCallachanat 16'minutesBooked at 53mins
  • 26Craig
  • 4Alston
  • 32Watt
  • 11SwansonSubstituted forWotherspoonat 69'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Anderson
  • 9Kane
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 16McMillan
  • 23Gordon
  • 28Callachan
  • 30Hurst
Referee:
Kevin Clancy
Attendance:
4,891

Match Stats

Home TeamSt MirrenAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home48%
Away52%
Shots
Home7
Away8
Shots on Target
Home1
Away3
Corners
Home3
Away6
Fouls
Home6
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, St. Mirren 0, St. Johnstone 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, St. Mirren 0, St. Johnstone 1.

Goal!

Goal! St. Mirren 0, St. Johnstone 1. Tony Watt (St. Johnstone) header from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by David Wotherspoon.

Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Alfie Jones (St. Mirren).

Attempt blocked. Adam Hammill (St. Mirren) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Mirren. Cameron Breadner replaces Simeon Jackson.

Attempt missed. Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Jack Baird (St. Mirren).

Attempt missed. Richard Foster (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Ethan Erhahon.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Christopher Kane replaces Matthew Kennedy.

Attempt saved. Ross Callachan (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Ethan Erhahon.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Mirren. Ryan Flynn replaces Cameron Smith.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Dean Lyness.

Attempt saved. Richard Foster (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. David Wotherspoon replaces Danny Swanson.

Corner, St. Mirren. Conceded by Joe Shaughnessy.

Attempt blocked. Cameron Smith (St. Mirren) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, St. Mirren. Conceded by Joe Shaughnessy.

Attempt blocked. Paul McGinn (St. Mirren) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is blocked.

Corner, St. Mirren. Conceded by Joe Shaughnessy.

Foul by Tony Watt (St. Johnstone).

Jack Baird (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Hand ball by Danny Swanson (St. Johnstone).

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Cameron Smith.

Attempt blocked. Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

Hand ball by Simeon Jackson (St. Mirren).

Booking

Ross Callachan (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.

Attempt missed. Ross Callachan (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Second Half

Second Half begins St. Mirren 0, St. Johnstone 0.

Half Time

First Half ends, St. Mirren 0, St. Johnstone 0.

Foul by Blair Alston (St. Johnstone).

Jack Baird (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Lee Hodson.

Tony Watt (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Alfie Jones (St. Mirren).

Attempt missed. Adam Hammill (St. Mirren) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic19133346133342
2Rangers20116342162639
3Kilmarnock20115430191138
4Aberdeen2011363223936
5Hearts2010372526-133
6St Johnstone199462324-131
7Livingston208662517830
8Hibernian207853021929
9Motherwell2053121832-1418
10Hamilton2042141341-2814
11St Mirren2033141437-2312
12Dundee2024141544-2910
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