Scottish Premiership
HamiltonHamilton Academical3St JohnstoneSt Johnstone5

Hamilton Academical 3-5 St Johnstone: visitors edge thrilling encounter

By Thomas DuncanBBC Scotland

St Johnstone held off a Hamilton Academical fightback in a "heart-attack" game to move off the foot of the Scottish Premiership table.

A double from Stevie May, and a fine David Wotherspoon strike had the visitors 3-0 up after 33 minutes.

But goals from Ronan Hughes and Marios Ogkmpoe hauled Hamilton within one.

However, Craig Conway's late double secured a first win in four league games for St Johnstone despite Hughes briefly making it 4-3.

Callum Davidson's side had slipped to the bottom of the table after a run of four games without a goal, but back-to-back League Cup wins clearly bolstered their confidence.

"It was one of those heart-attack games," the St Johnstone boss said. "I thought we started really well and it was great to get the first goal, we managed to score three.

"The cup competition probably came at the right time for us. You can use them as either a detriment or a positive and you saw today it was a positive for us.

"I think we've been playing really well and not getting the results, so hopefully now we can go on a run where we put in performances and merit the points we get."

May scored a hat-trick midweek in the 7-0 thumping of Brechin City, and was on the scoresheet again inside two minutes as he slotted home Wotherspoon's cross.

Then Wotherspoon himself doubled the lead with a low drive from the edge of the box, which Hamilton goalkeeper Ryan Fulton got a hand to but could not keep out.

May rose in the box to force a good save from Fulton, before heading the ball into the net at the near post to cap an utterly dominant opening for St Johnstone.

Things looked to be going from bad to worse for Hamilton as key man David Templeton limped off, but his replacement Hughes sparked a response after touching the ball round Jason Kerr before finishing low past Zander Clark.

And four minutes later the contest came truly alive again when Ogkmpoe headed home Scott McMann's fine cross to make it 3-2.

Hamilton began the second half far better than the first, but could not muster the required quality to level the match. Instead May broke down the right and into the box, before squaring for Conway to finish into the corner and seemingly end the home side's resistance.

But Hamilton's defining characteristic is their fighting spirit, and Hughes rolled in his second after Ross Callachan's piledriver crashed off the bar and caused chaos in the box.

It set up a grandstand final 10 minutes, but to Davidson's relief his side managed to eke their lead back out to two goals thanks to the brilliance of Conway.

The former Blackburn Rovers winger stepped up to smash a quite brilliant free-kick into the net to cap a topsy-turvy game, add the game's third double, and finally ensure St Johnstone claimed all three points.

Man of the match - Craig Conway

It could easily have gone to Stevie May, who also got two goals and one assist, but Conway edges it with his sublime free-kick to wrap up the win
It could easily have gone to Stevie May, who also got two goals and one assist, but Conway edges it with his sublime free-kick to wrap up the win

What did we learn?

St Johnstone can score goals after all. There is a lot to be said for playing lower-league opponents to build some confidence, and it has clearly done the trick for Davidson's men.

They had been performing better than their results suggested, their problem being a lack of cutting edge. But May's early goal seemed to get them going and he, along with Conway, and Wotherspoon were scintillating to watch.

As for Hamilton, they deserve credit for the way they continually battled back, and their response at the start of the second half was good.

But defensively they gave up far too many chances, and will be consistently punished at this level if they do not tighten up.

What they said

Hamilton head coach Brian Rice: "We went for it. We were 3-0 down before we knew it, but at least we had a go.

"At half-time we thought we could get something out of it, we thought the next goal was important. But we needed to hold on for five minutes and give ourselves a chance to get the equaliser."

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: "Having to score five goals to win a game makes a change from the start of the season, when we couldn't score. So I'm delighted for the attacking players."

What's next?

Hamilton face Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Tuesday (19:00 BST) in a rearranged match, while St Johnstone host Dundee United in Perth next Saturday (15:00).

Player of the match

MayStevie May

with an average of 8.22

Hamilton Academical

  1. Squad number9Player nameOgkmpoe
    Average rating

    5.74

  2. Squad number15Player nameHughes
    Average rating

    5.70

  3. Squad number8Player nameMartin
    Average rating

    5.55

  4. Squad number10Player nameTempleton
    Average rating

    5.41

  5. Squad number20Player nameMoyo
    Average rating

    5.40

  6. Squad number2Player nameOdoffin
    Average rating

    5.36

  7. Squad number21Player nameMunro
    Average rating

    5.30

  8. Squad number12Player nameWant
    Average rating

    5.30

  9. Squad number27Player nameHodson
    Average rating

    5.25

  10. Squad number3Player nameMcMann
    Average rating

    5.11

  11. Squad number23Player nameFulton
    Average rating

    5.04

  12. Squad number34Player nameCallachan
    Average rating

    5.03

  13. Squad number32Player nameSmith
    Average rating

    4.69

  14. Squad number4Player nameStirling
    Average rating

    4.20

St Johnstone

  1. Squad number14Player nameMay
    Average rating

    8.22

  2. Squad number10Player nameWotherspoon
    Average rating

    7.81

  3. Squad number7Player nameConway
    Average rating

    7.65

  4. Squad number15Player nameMcNamara
    Average rating

    7.14

  5. Squad number18Player nameMcCann
    Average rating

    7.08

  6. Squad number13Player nameBryson
    Average rating

    6.96

  7. Squad number24Player nameBooth
    Average rating

    6.87

  8. Squad number3Player nameTanser
    Average rating

    6.64

  9. Squad number8Player nameDavidson
    Average rating

    6.60

  10. Squad number5Player nameKerr
    Average rating

    6.60

  11. Squad number1Player nameClark
    Average rating

    6.55

  12. Squad number6Player nameGordon
    Average rating

    6.54

  13. Squad number4Player nameMcCart
    Average rating

    6.40

  14. Squad number9Player nameKane
    Average rating

    6.30

Line-ups

Hamilton

  • 23Fulton
  • 27HodsonSubstituted forStirlingat 78'minutes
  • 2OdoffinBooked at 37mins
  • 12Want
  • 3McMann
  • 21MunroSubstituted forSmithat 74'minutes
  • 34Callachan
  • 10TempletonSubstituted forHughesat 20'minutes
  • 8Martin
  • 9Ogkmpoe
  • 20Moyo

Substitutes

  • 4Stirling
  • 7Collar
  • 14Trafford
  • 15Hughes
  • 18Mimnaugh
  • 22Gourlay
  • 32Smith
  • 36Owolabi
  • 37Johnson

St Johnstone

  • 1Clark
  • 5Kerr
  • 6Gordon
  • 4McCart
  • 15McNamara
  • 8Davidson
  • 18McCannSubstituted forBrysonat 65'minutes
  • 3Tanser
  • 7Conway
  • 10WotherspoonSubstituted forBoothat 83'minutes
  • 14MaySubstituted forKaneat 80'minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Kane
  • 11O'Halloran
  • 12Parish
  • 13Bryson
  • 19Rooney
  • 22Hendry
  • 24Booth
  • 26Craig
Referee:
Kevin Clancy

Match Stats

Home TeamHamiltonAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home10
Away22
Shots on Target
Home4
Away8
Corners
Home3
Away7
Fouls
Home18
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Hamilton Academical 3, St. Johnstone 5.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Hamilton Academical 3, St. Johnstone 5.

  3. Post update

    Hakeem Odoffin (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone).

  5. Post update

    Hakeem Odoffin (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone).

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Scott Tanser with a cross following a fast break.

  8. Post update

    Scott McMann (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone).

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Craig Conway (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from very close range is too high. Assisted by Scott Tanser with a cross.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Ross Callachan (Hamilton Academical).

  12. Post update

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

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high following a corner.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Jason Kerr (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Liam Gordon.

  15. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Scott Martin.

  16. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Dan McNamara (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Ronan Hughes (Hamilton Academical).

  18. Post update

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

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Callum Booth replaces David Wotherspoon.

  20. Goal!

    Goal! Hamilton Academical 3, St. Johnstone 5. Craig Conway (St. Johnstone) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the top right corner.

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