Scottish Premiership
St JohnstoneSt Johnstone3HeartsHeart of Midlothian3

St Johnstone 3-3 Heart of Midlothian

By Clive LindsayBBC Sport at McDiarmid Park

Danny Wilson's stoppage-time header denied St Johnstone all three points after a dramatic late fightback as three players were sent off in Perth.

Stevie May's hat-trick - which included two penalties - put Saints in command despite Steven Anderson's red card.

Dale Carrick had headed Hearts' first before May completed his treble.

But, after Sam Nicholson reduced arrears, Saints goalkeeper Alan Mannus and Hearts' Ryan Stevenson were sent off, and Wilson netted the equaliser.

Hearts remain marooned at the bottom of the Scottish Premiership without a win in 11 games, but they ended a run of three straight defeats with a spirited point to mark the cost-cutting administration-hit club.

The visitors started with a shoot-on-sight policy - not a bad one on such a slippery surface - and Stevenson sent an early long-range drive that would have threatened to burst the net had it not been straight at goalkeeper Mannus.

However, Saints were soon in the ascendency, inspired by the nimble feet of May and Nigel Hasselbaink, a pairing that will be giving Hearts' defenders nightmares for days to come.

St Johnstone and Hearts players
The end of the match would prove to be eventful

May had a netbound shot blocked in front of goal and another diverted by a neat Murray Davidson back-heel that goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald smothered on the line.

The match became more tetchy when Jamie Hamill and Hasselbaink exchanged strong words over who should take a drop ball and it boiled over seconds later with Anderson's dismissal.

Gary McDonald's poor passback was cut out by Carrick and the midfielder was taken out by the St Johnstone defender.

The incident took place a full 30 yards from goal, but referee Brian Colvin ruled that it was a goalscoring opportunity and showed the red card.

With Gary Miller already on for Lee Croft, Saints manager Tommy Wright was forced to further re-organise his midfield when Davidson was stretchered off after landing awkwardly.

However, Saints continued to trouble the visiting defence and, when Kevin McHattie looked to hold Hasselbaink as the striker rolled him inside the penalty box, Colvin appeared to take his assistant's advice to award a penalty that was stuck away into the corner by May.

Saints stretched their lead after the break when May pounced on a fine Hasselbaink through ball and, although his first effort was blocked by goalkeeper MacDonald, the striker forced the ball over the line via deflections off Wilson and Dylan McGowan.

The visitors were rarely a threat despite their numerical advantage but were suddenly back in the game when a McHattie cross was nodded home by Carrick from close range at the back post.

Any thoughts of an unlikely comeback appeared to be ended minutes later following an even more controversial penalty kick.

May flicked the ball against McHattie from point-blank range and, after the officials ruled that it had come off the defender's arm and not his chest, the striker produced another clinical spot kick for his 19th goal of the season.

However, in a rousing finish, substitute Nicholson sliced the ball home from close range, after which Mannus and Stevenson were shown red cards following an angry goalmouth melee.

And when Wilson headed in a Jamie Hamill cross, it was Hearts who were celebrating to deny Saints a third straight home win.

Line-ups

St Johnstone

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1MannusBooked at 90mins
  • 2Mackay
  • 3Scobbie
  • 8McDonald
  • 6AndersonBooked at 21mins
  • 5Wright
  • 7Millar
  • 18DavidsonSubstituted forWotherspoonat 37'minutesBooked at 63mins
  • 17May
  • 22CroftSubstituted forMillerat 24'minutes
  • 11HasselbainkSubstituted forCreggat 70'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Cregg
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 15Banks
  • 19Miller
  • 20Brown
  • 29O'Halloran
  • 31Easton

Hearts

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1MacDonald
  • 16McKayBooked at 50mins
  • 3McHattieBooked at 38mins
  • 2Hamill
  • 4Wilson
  • 5McGowanSubstituted forNicholsonat 45'minutes
  • 18Carrick
  • 20TappingBooked at 41minsSubstituted forOliverat 69'minutes
  • 12Paterson
  • 7StevensonBooked at 89mins
  • 17SmithSubstituted forKingat 79'minutes

Substitutes

  • 19King
  • 21Hamilton
  • 26King
  • 28Nicholson
  • 29Oliver
  • 30McGhee
  • 31Beith
Referee:
Brian Colvin
Attendance:
3,395

Match Stats

Home TeamSt JohnstoneAway TeamHearts
Possession
Home49%
Away51%
Shots
Home12
Away15
Shots on Target
Home5
Away8
Corners
Home4
Away9
Fouls
Home8
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, St Johnstone 3, Hearts 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, St Johnstone 3, Hearts 3.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Patrick Cregg (St Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

  4. Post update

    Chris Millar (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Brad McKay (Hearts).

  6. Goal!

    Goal! St Johnstone 3, Hearts 3. Danny Wilson (Hearts) header from very close range to the top right corner.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Frazer Wright.

  8. Post update

    Callum Paterson (Hearts) hits the bar with a header from the centre of the box.

  9. Dismissal

    Alan Mannus (St Johnstone) is shown the red card for fighting.

  10. Dismissal

    Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) is shown the red card for fighting.

  11. Goal!

    Goal! St Johnstone 3, Hearts 2. Sam Nicholson (Hearts) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Alan Mannus.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Gary Miller.

  14. Post update

    Attempt saved. Gary Oliver (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Steve May (St Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Alan Mannus.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Alan Mannus.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Hearts. Billy King replaces David Smith.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Steve May (St Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  20. Post update

    Steve May (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.