Scottish Premiership
St JohnstoneSt Johnstone0DundeeDundee0

St Johnstone 0-0 Dundee: Bottom two battle to dour draw

By Martin WattBBC Scotland
St Johnstone striker Nadir Ciftci limped off in the opening stages
St Johnstone striker Nadir Ciftci limped off in the opening stages

St Johnstone are showing "definite signs" of recovery, says manager Callum Davidson, after halting their 10-game losing run in a stalemate with Scottish Premiership relegation rivals Dundee.

Both sides struggled to prise chances from a dour derby that maintains Dundee's two-point lead at the bottom.

The hosts - the better side - gained a first point in nine league outings.

Dundee, who had a Charlie Adam drive cleared off the line late on, end a run of six straight top-flight defeats.

"I'm not sure about easing the pressure, but it's a start," said Davidson. "I told the players what I wanted and they delivered, apart from winning the game.

"For 80 minutes we put a real good show in. I'll take that positive and I need it every week from them."

Both clubs gain ground in the survival battle, with Ross County - now four points above second-bottom Dundee - and Livingston each losing.

With so much at stake, the importance of this game understandably was not matched by the spectacle.

St Johnstone were reeling from a humiliating Scottish Cup loss to fourth-tier Kelty Hearts that piled more pressure on manager Callum Davidson amid a wretched losing streak.

Davidson's side need all the help they can get to improve a scoring record - 11 goals in 22 league games - that is by far the worst in the division.

But they lost striker Nadir Cifcti, on just his third appearance, to a hamstring injury early on, with Chris Kane taking over.

Fellow striker Callum Hendry, recalled from his loan spell at Kilmarnock, toiled away manfully and threatened a second-half breakthrough.

He barrelled in from the left, sold Liam Fontaine a dummy, and got a low shot away that was blocked by the legs of Dundee keeper Adam Legzdins. It was a rare moment of attacking excitement from either side.

Home defender Jamie McCart sent a header into the arms of Legzdins in the opening stages, while Zander Clark gathered a Max Anderson effort at the other end.

Niall McGinn was pitched in for his Dundee debut shortly after the interval as James McPake sought some attacking impetus. Leigh Griffiths almost provided it, with his effort parried away by Clark at the near post.

Murray Davidson dragged wide for St Johstone, but the visitors finished the stronger and Adam drove down the left and drilled across goal, with Jamie McCart on hand to make a crucial intervention on the line.

Man of the match - Cammy MacPherson

The St Johnstone midfielder was full of industry and tried to get his side on the front foot
The St Johnstone midfielder was full of industry and tried to get his side on the front foot

What did we learn?

St Johnstone's revival has to start somewhere and Davidson will believe this battling point can be the launchpad for a rise to survival.

His side showed the defensive diligence that was the foundation of their double cup success last season, but a lack of attacking quality continues to be a glaring problem. On that front, Davidson will be anxiously hope for positive news on Ciftci's injury.

Dundee were dreadful for much of the opening hour but, similar to the hosts, can take the positive of stopping an alarming run of defeats.

Adam jolted the visitors to life following his introduction off the bench, while McGinn and fellow new signing Jay Chapman will also be pushing for a start at the weekend.

What did they say?

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: "Nadir is a big player and that's what's happened this season. It didn't look good when he was walking.

"I've probably torn my hamstring 12 times in my career and that was about four to six weeks, but that's just me. Fingers crossed it won't be too long."

Dundee manager James McPake: "We had a few moments of quality and another night could have won.

"But there wasn't much in the game and we've shown commitment. People were right to question that last week, but tonight it was there and we were just unfortunate that we couldn't convert a chance."

What's next?

St Johnstone are in Premiership action away to Aberdeen on Saturday (15:00 GMT), while Dundee host St Mirren at the same time.

Player of the match

McGinnNiall McGinn

with an average of 7.25

St Johnstone

  1. Squad number18Player nameMacPherson
    Average rating

    6.45

  2. Squad number6Player nameGordon
    Average rating

    6.25

  3. Squad number22Player nameHendry
    Average rating

    6.23

  4. Squad number24Player nameBooth
    Average rating

    6.22

  5. Squad number5Player nameCleary
    Average rating

    6.10

  6. Squad number2Player nameBrown
    Average rating

    6.03

  7. Squad number34Player nameButterfield
    Average rating

    6.03

  8. Squad number8Player nameDavidson
    Average rating

    5.95

  9. Squad number1Player nameClark
    Average rating

    5.93

  10. Squad number4Player nameMcCart
    Average rating

    5.58

  11. Squad number23Player nameÇiftçi
    Average rating

    5.09

  12. Squad number9Player nameKane
    Average rating

    4.87

  13. Squad number7Player nameMay
    Average rating

    4.12

Dundee

  1. Squad number77Player nameMcGinn
    Average rating

    7.25

  2. Squad number2Player nameKerr
    Average rating

    6.19

  3. Squad number17Player nameMcCowan
    Average rating

    6.18

  4. Squad number18Player nameMcMullan
    Average rating

    6.12

  5. Squad number8Player nameByrne
    Average rating

    6.10

  6. Squad number5Player nameSweeney
    Average rating

    6.10

  7. Squad number24Player nameAnderson
    Average rating

    6.02

  8. Squad number26Player nameAdam
    Average rating

    6.00

  9. Squad number1Player nameLegzdins
    Average rating

    5.98

  10. Squad number10Player nameMcGowan
    Average rating

    5.81

  11. Squad number4Player nameFontaine
    Average rating

    5.66

  12. Squad number7Player nameJakubiak
    Average rating

    5.63

  13. Squad number16Player nameElliott
    Average rating

    5.30

  14. Squad number29Player nameGriffiths
    Average rating

    3.78

Line-ups

St Johnstone

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Clark
  • 5Cleary
  • 6GordonBooked at 65mins
  • 4McCart
  • 2Brown
  • 8Davidson
  • 34Butterfield
  • 18MacPherson
  • 24Booth
  • 23ÇiftçiSubstituted forKaneat 10'minutes
  • 22HendrySubstituted forMayat 85'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Gallacher
  • 7May
  • 9Kane
  • 12Parish
  • 14Middleton
  • 15Gilmour
  • 16Mahon
  • 21Crawford
  • 26Craig

Dundee

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Legzdins
  • 16Elliott
  • 4Fontaine
  • 5Sweeney
  • 2KerrBooked at 76mins
  • 24Anderson
  • 8Byrne
  • 18McMullan
  • 10McGowanSubstituted forAdamat 51'minutes
  • 17McCowanSubstituted forMcGinnat 51'minutes
  • 29GriffithsSubstituted forJakubiakat 82'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Jakubiak
  • 11McDaid
  • 12Chapman
  • 15Mulligan
  • 19Robertson
  • 21Lawlor
  • 26Adam
  • 30Sharp
  • 77McGinn
Referee:
Bobby Madden
Attendance:
4,135

Match Stats

Home TeamSt JohnstoneAway TeamDundee
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home9
Away10
Shots on Target
Home4
Away2
Corners
Home8
Away2
Fouls
Home14
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, St. Johnstone 0, Dundee 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, St. Johnstone 0, Dundee 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone).

  4. Post update

    Cammy Kerr (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Alex Jakubiak (Dundee) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Niall McGinn.

  6. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Paul McMullan.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone).

  8. Post update

    Max Anderson (Dundee) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  9. Post update

    James Brown (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Sweeney (Dundee).

  11. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Cammy Kerr (Dundee) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Jacob Butterfield (St. Johnstone).

  13. Post update

    Cammy Kerr (Dundee) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  14. Post update

    Daniel Cleary (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Niall McGinn (Dundee).

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Stevie May replaces Callum Hendry.

  17. Post update

    Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Christie Elliott (Dundee).

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Dundee. Alex Jakubiak replaces Leigh Griffiths.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Callum Hendry (St. Johnstone).

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Rangers22174145153055
2Celtic22163346133351
3Hearts22116532201239
4Motherwell229582630-432
5Hibernian228682424030
6Aberdeen2284102626028
7Dundee Utd2284101926-728
8St Mirren2251072132-1125
9Livingston2265111827-923
10Ross County2256113138-721
11Dundee2245131839-2117
12St Johnstone2236131127-1615
View full Scottish Premiership table

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