Scottish Premiership
St Johnstone2Dundee0

St Johnstone 2-0 Dundee

St Johnstone breezed past Tayside rivals Dundee with a 2-0 Scottish Premiership win at McDiarmid Park.

Paul Paton's 12th-minute header opened the scoring, before Blair Alston rasped in a second seven minutes later.

A slack Dundee seldom threatened - James Vincent came closest to a second-half goal, but his effort was well-parried by Zander Clark.

The victory keeps Saints a point behind third-placed Hearts, while Dundee drop to eighth.

Super Saints on fire

With three defeats in their last three home games you could not have blamed the hosts for feeling rather nervous as they took to the field to take on their fierce rivals.

However, boss Tommy Wright clearly had his players fired-up for the task, and when Graham Cummins knocked a Joe Shaughnessy cross back into the box, the advancing Paton was on hand to knock the ball beyond Scott Bain in the Dundee goal.

Bain may feel he ought to have kept out Alston's 22-yard drive, but the scoreline was no less than Saints deserved.

Dundee lacking punch

Dundee appeared to have turned the corner with recent wins over Motherwell and Rangers, but performances like this will spark renewed anxiety among the Dens Park support.

With attackers Marcus Haber, Craig Wighton and Henrik Ojamaa starting, there was plenty of firepower on the pitch, but for the first 45 minutes, Clark was a mere spectator.

It wasn't until four minutes after the break that he was called into action, blocking Vincent's shot to thwart Dundee's first serious foray into Saints territory,

With the league split just five games away, and Dundee three points and two places from the top six, Dundee are at risk of a bottom-half finish for the second year running, and could yet be dragged into a relegation battle.

St Johnstone on the 'Wright' path

Tommy Wright
Saints boss Tommy Wright looks on course to guide his team to another top-six Premiership finish

With one of the lowest budgets in the Premiership, St Johnstone are once again proving that you don't need to throw bundles of cash at your team to be a success. And in Wright they have one of the shrewdest top-flight managers around when it comes to seeking out footballing talent.

Wright plucked Alston from Championship side Falkirk last summer, and secured the services of Ross County defender Richard Foster on a free transfer early in the season.

The Perth side are once again well on course for a top-six spot, and it may be only a matter of time before bigger clubs than Saints come calling for Wright and his sidekick Calum Davidson.

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright: "The tempo we played at from the first whistle to the last was excellent and that was with or without the ball. We created a lot of opportunities.

"Dundee may have had more possession but in the shot count and crosses we were way ahead in terms of creating more chances.

"That was probably Alston's best game since he joined. He has done extremely well this season. I think we were able to get the ball into the strikers' feet and play off them.

"The target is still the top six. We don't relax. I have seen it happen when we have lost five in the league. It's not going to happen, I hope."

Dundee manager Paul Hartley: "That was the flattest performance of the season from us. I thought we were right off the pace. St Johnstone were onto second balls, they were more determined than us.

"I don't know why, sometimes you have to ask the players that. It's not the way they have worked in training or how they have been over the last month.

"We now have to get back to working away for the Celtic game but that today was not an acceptable performance. We still have an opportunity (for a top-six place) but the games are running out fast.

"We are still looking over our shoulders, but our ambitions are to get into the top six. If we perform like that we won't get into it."

Line-ups

St Johnstone

  • 12Clark
  • 19Foster
  • 14Shaughnessy
  • 3Scobbie
  • 24B Easton
  • 4AlstonSubstituted forThomsonat 88'minutes
  • 18Paton
  • 26Craig
  • 11SwansonSubstituted forDavidsonat 78'minutes
  • 9MacLeanBooked at 89mins
  • 29Cummins

Substitutes

  • 1Mannus
  • 8Davidson
  • 15Smith
  • 22Watson
  • 27Thomson
  • 31Hurst
  • 33Hunter

Dundee

  • 1Bain
  • 30Kerr
  • 6O'Dea
  • 26Gadzhalov
  • 3Holt
  • 33WightonSubstituted forWilliamsat 73'minutesBooked at 84mins
  • 14O'HaraBooked at 26mins
  • 18McGowan
  • 4Vincent
  • 21Haber
  • 22OjamaaSubstituted forEl Bakhtaouiat 56'minutesBooked at 69mins

Substitutes

  • 7Hateley
  • 11Williams
  • 17Ross
  • 20El Bakhtaoui
  • 23Klok
  • 48Ferie
  • 55Gomis
Referee:
Andrew Dallas
Attendance:
4,195

Match Stats

Home TeamSt JohnstoneAway TeamDundee
Possession
Home46%
Away54%
Shots
Home16
Away5
Shots on Target
Home7
Away1
Corners
Home3
Away7
Fouls
Home12
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, St. Johnstone 2, Dundee 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, St. Johnstone 2, Dundee 0.

Foul by Liam Craig (St. Johnstone).

Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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

Foul by Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone).

Booking

Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Craig Thomson replaces Blair Alston.

Foul by Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone).

Danny Williams (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Joe Shaughnessy (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Marcus Haber (Dundee).

Foul by Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone).

Mark O'Hara (Dundee) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Blair Alston (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Danny Williams (Dundee) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Danny Williams (Dundee).

Corner, Dundee. Conceded by Steven MacLean.

Corner, Dundee. Conceded by Richard Foster.

Attempt blocked. Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Dundee) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Foul by Richard Foster (St. Johnstone).

Danny Williams (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Graham Cummins (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Cameron Kerr (Dundee).

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Murray Davidson replaces Danny Swanson.

Foul by Tam Scobbie (St. Johnstone).

Marcus Haber (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Dundee) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right following a set piece situation.

Foul by Richard Foster (St. Johnstone).

Paul McGowan (Dundee) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Dundee. Danny Williams replaces Craig Wighton.

Foul by Tam Scobbie (St. Johnstone).

Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Paul Paton (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Darren O'Dea (Dundee).

Attempt saved. Blair Alston (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Booking

Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Dundee) is shown the yellow card.

Corner, Dundee. Conceded by Steven MacLean.

Corner, Dundee. Conceded by Zander Clark.

Corner, Dundee. Conceded by Brian Easton.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic27261073165779
2Aberdeen28174751242755
3Rangers2713773732546
4Hearts28118950351541
5St Johnstone28117103736140
6Partick Thistle2889113033-333
7Kilmarnock28710112744-1731
8Dundee2886143139-830
9Ross County2869133047-1727
10Motherwell2876153255-2327
11Hamilton28412122643-1724
12Inverness CT28411133252-2023
View full Scottish Premiership table

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