Scottish Premiership
HeartsHeart of Midlothian0St JohnstoneSt Johnstone1

Hearts 0-1 St Johnstone: Losing start for new boss Daniel Stendel

By Martin WattBBC Scotland

New Hearts manager Daniel Stendel endured a miserable start as St Johnstone hauled themselves off the bottom of the Scottish Premiership with victory at Tynecastle.

Substitute Callum Hendry's second-half header secured a first win in 17 away league matches for Tommy Wright's men.

Hearts were devoid of creativity and drop a spot to 11th while remaining off the bottom on goal difference.

St Johnstone are up to 10th with a three-point gap on the bottom two.

The visitors were good value for their first away success in the Premiership in almost a year, with Michael O'Halloran, Hendry and David Wotherspoon all coming close.

Hearts now have just one victory in their last 11 league matches and Stendel has been left in little doubt about the size of the task facing him at Tynecastle.

Slick Saints pile on the pain

The more things change for Hearts, the more they stay the same. Hopes were high at Tynecastle of a bright new dawn under Stendel but the dark cloud of a relegation struggle continues to linger.

This performance was as poor as anything served up by predecessor Craig Levein and interim boss Austin MacPhee.

Former Barnsley manager Stendel wasted no time in putting his stamp on things - Irish forward Aidan Keena, 20, and 17-year-old full-back Aaron Hickey were among four changes to the starting line-up as the German looked to adds legs to carry out his gegenpressing gameplan.

It is a system that will clearly take some time to get up and running. And Stendel's decision to opt for a high defensive line was a bold one that almost backfired.

Bobby Zlamal does not always convince as a goalkeeper and was now being asked to be a sweeper too. The Czech was caught out when a simple ball caused him to rush out of his penalty area, where O'Halloran got there first and honed in on goal.

All he had to do his pick his spot either side of covering defender Hickey on the line, but instead shot straight at him and Kennedy could not convert the rebound as Zlamal scrambled back to save.

saints stat

Hearts were dreadful as an attacking force. A Jamie Walker burst forward and drive deflected narrowly wide was the closest they came and the likes of Sean Clare and Steven MacLean were largely anonymous.

The hosts looked to get the ball forward quickly, but long passes rarely found their intended target and the half-time introduction of Ryo Meshino for Keena had little impact.

St Johnstone, sensing the hosts were there for the taking, grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half. Matty Kennedy ran from the halfway line and sent a shot wide before Hendry skewed a header off target from an Antony Ralston cross.

Hendry was scratching his head in disbelief when Zlamal denied him with a brilliant save from close range. But from the resultant corner, the 22-year-old powered home a header for his fourth goal of the season.

Hearts huffed and puffed in search of an equaliser that never looked likely. And substitute Wotherspoon came close to a second in injury time, curling inches beyond the far post as St Johnstone showed a cutting edge sorely lacking among Stendel's bunch.

Man of the match - Murray Davidson

St Johnstone were immense from start to finish. At the back Liam Gordon and Jason Kerr snuffed out the Hearts strikers, while up top the relentless running and chasing from Kennedy and Stevie May kept the home defence on their toes.

But best of all was veteran midfielder Murray Davidson. He was strong in the challenge and denied the opposition time to create opportunities that would have had his defence in trouble.

'We need the fans' help' - reaction

Hearts manager Daniel Stendel: "You can see the players wanted to try the new things but we did not deserve to win, we have not really created chances. I hope the fans give the players more chance to change the opinion, because we need help from the stands.

"We can play so much better than today. We have some big players injured and when they come back I hope we will have more quality to change things."

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright: "It's been a long time coming but is fully deserved. I don't think our goalkeeper has had a save to make all day. We had the better chances and defended really well. I watched how Stendel got Barnsley to play and knew we'd get a lot of space in behind."

Line-ups

Hearts

  • 1Zlamal
  • 2SmithBooked at 41mins
  • 26Halkett
  • 6Berra
  • 51HickeyBooked at 86mins
  • 8ClareSubstituted forIkpeazuat 66'minutes
  • 12Whelan
  • 7Bozanic
  • 10WalkerSubstituted forDamourat 81'minutes
  • 35KeenaSubstituted forMeshinoat 45'minutes
  • 18MacLean

Substitutes

  • 15Wighton
  • 19Ikpeazu
  • 22Damour
  • 23Castro Pereira
  • 25Brandon
  • 28Dikamona
  • 77Meshino

St Johnstone

  • 1Clark
  • 21RalstonBooked at 9mins
  • 23Gordon
  • 15Kerr
  • 24Booth
  • 17O'Halloran
  • 8DavidsonBooked at 25mins
  • 18McCann
  • 19HoltSubstituted forCraigat 80'minutes
  • 33KennedySubstituted forWotherspoonat 86'minutes
  • 14MaySubstituted forHendryat 60'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Duffy
  • 3Tanser
  • 7Wright
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 12Parish
  • 22Hendry
  • 26Craig
Referee:
Alan Newlands
Attendance:
16,347

Match Stats

Home TeamHeartsAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home68%
Away32%
Shots
Home11
Away10
Shots on Target
Home2
Away4
Corners
Home12
Away7
Fouls
Home15
Away8

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 0, St. Johnstone 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 0, St. Johnstone 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right following a fast break.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Aaron Hickey (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Loïc Damour.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. David Wotherspoon replaces Matthew Kennedy.

  6. Booking

    Aaron Hickey (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Aaron Hickey (Heart of Midlothian).

  8. Post update

    Anthony Ralston (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian).

  10. Post update

    Callum Booth (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian).

  12. Post update

    Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ryotaro Meshino (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Uche Ikpeazu with a cross.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Loïc Damour replaces Jamie Walker.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Liam Craig replaces Jason Holt because of an injury.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Jason Holt.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Jason Kerr.

  18. Post update

    Offside, St. Johnstone. Jason Holt tries a through ball, but Michael O'Halloran is caught offside.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Oliver Bozanic (Heart of Midlothian).

  20. Post update

    Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic1513114693740
2Rangers15122145103538
3Aberdeen189542622432
4Motherwell1710162922731
5Kilmarnock186571721-423
6Hibernian175752729-222
7Ross County175572035-1520
8Livingston184772327-419
9St Mirren1843111527-1215
10St Johnstone163671433-1915
11Hearts172691628-1212
12Hamilton1826101631-1512
View full Scottish Premiership table

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