Scottish Premiership
St JohnstoneSt Johnstone2KilmarnockKilmarnock1

St Johnstone 2-1 Kilmarnock

By Martin DowdenBBC Scotland at McDairmid Park

St Johnstone came from behind to beat visitors Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership.

Steven Smith nodded in Kallum Higginbotham's chipped cross to give Killie an early lead.

Michael O'Halloran levelled for Saints after a scramble in the box midway through the first half.

Chris Kane struck to give the home side the lead shortly after the break before Saints had Liam Craig sent off for a lunge on Smith.

It was an impressive performance from the home side, which earned a fifth league win in six games and moved them five points clear of the three sides directly below them in the table.

Some supporters were still easing into their seats when Kilmarnock announced their arrival with their first real attack.

Murray Davidson (left) and Kallum Higginbotham
St Johntone's Murray Davidson (left) and Kilmarnock's Kallum Higginbotham clash

Higginbotham curled an accurate cross from the right that sailed perfectly into Smith's path, and a lack of challenge allowed him to steer the ball home via the cross bar.

St Johnstone seemed a little off the pace in that opening period with Josh Magennis firing narrowly wide from outside the area.

Saints manager Tommy Wright suffered another blow when striker Graham Cummins pulled up with a hamstring injury and had to be replaced by Kane.

Slowly but surely the home side progressed up the pitch and were rewarded by the persistence of Steven MacLean.

Interviews - Wright & Locke

He gathered in the inside left position and appeared to delay too long as the defence streamed back into position.

It paid off though when he met Kane's return ball, and rather than blast from close range he laid the ball off to the better positioned O'Halloran to convert.

St Johnstone started the second half with more purpose and almost immediately could have been ahead.

It was great work from O'Halloran who cut inside, tried to slide a ball in behind the defence which visiting defender Mark O'Hara connected with, and watched as it snuck inches past his own post.

Moments later, superb work on the left from David Wotherspoon led to the ball being laid back to Kane and the substitute striker smashed the ball powerfully past goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald.

Magennis fired a powerful shot marginally off target as Kilmarnock threatened a response

However, St Johnstone seemed in command and Craig, Brian Easton and Kane had opportunities to seal the points.

Craig's afternoon ended with personal disappointment when a two-footed challenge on Smith was deemed too aggressive and he received a straight card.

Greg Kiltie and Dale Carrick might have rescued a point, but in truth the home side did enough to deserve victory in what's proving to be another impressive campaign.

Line-ups

St Johnstone

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Mannus
  • 2Mackay
  • 3Scobbie
  • 6Anderson
  • 24Easton
  • 29O'HalloranBooked at 54minsSubstituted forShaughnessyat 88'minutes
  • 8Davidson
  • 22FisherSubstituted forWotherspoonat 45'minutes
  • 26CraigBooked at 86mins
  • 9MacLean
  • 18CumminsSubstituted forKaneat 14'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Millar
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 11Sutton
  • 12Clark
  • 14Shaughnessy
  • 25Kane
  • 27Thomson

Kilmarnock

Formation 4-4-2

  • 21MacDonald
  • 14O'Hara
  • 5Findlay
  • 26Balatoni
  • 22McHattie
  • 7McKenzie
  • 3SmithBooked at 25mins
  • 19SlaterSubstituted forCarrickat 84'minutes
  • 23KiltieBooked at 20minsSubstituted forObadeyiat 64'minutes
  • 11HigginbothamSubstituted forBoydat 71'minutes
  • 28MagennisBooked at 87mins

Substitutes

  • 1Ridgers
  • 4Hamill
  • 8Robinson
  • 9Boyd
  • 16Obadeyi
  • 18Ashcroft
  • 20Carrick
Referee:
Crawford Allan
Attendance:
3,475

Match Stats

Home TeamSt JohnstoneAway TeamKilmarnock
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home9
Away15
Shots on Target
Home6
Away5
Corners
Home7
Away2
Fouls
Home6
Away17

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, St. Johnstone 2, Kilmarnock 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, St. Johnstone 2, Kilmarnock 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Kevin McHattie.

  4. Post update

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

  5. Post update

    Foul by Conrad Balatoni (Kilmarnock).

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Dale Carrick (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Joe Shaughnessy replaces Michael O'Halloran.

  8. Booking

    Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card.

  9. Dismissal

    Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) is shown the red card.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Liam Craig (St. Johnstone).

  11. Post update

    Steven Smith (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

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

  13. Post update

    Foul by Stuart Findlay (Kilmarnock).

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Kilmarnock. Dale Carrick replaces Craig Slater.

  15. Post update

    Attempt saved. Craig Slater (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone).

  17. Post update

    Stuart Findlay (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Kris Boyd.

  19. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Mark O'Hara.

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.