Scottish Premiership
Ross CountyRoss County0St JohnstoneSt Johnstone1

Ross County 0-1 St Johnstone

By Martin DowdenBBC Scotland at Victoria Park
St Johnstone players celebrating
Steven MacLean (second from left) got Saints' winner

St Johnstone moved clear in fourth place in the Premiership with Steven MacLean's second half tap-in enough to earn victory at Ross County.

Danny Swanson moments earlier wasted a great chance after Andrew Davies blundered, hitting the side netting.

It was Swanson's corner though, met by Joe Shaughnessy, which fell perfectly for MacLean to slot home from inside the six-yard box.

Davies went close late on with a header that might have stolen a point.

Saints edge it, County off the pace

With Motherwell facing a tough trip to Aberdeen, both sides knew a positive result could move them into fourth.

Neither side seemed particularly motivated by that in the opening exchanges in a flat encounter offering little excitement.

Swanson was first to threaten when he stole possession from Marcus Fraser and released Graham Cummins into the box on the right-hand side.

The big striker had to pause slightly waiting for the ball to arrive, which gave Paul Quinn the chance to slide in and superbly block his shot with goalkeeper Scott Fox looking exposed.

Liam Craig and Liam Boyce
Liam Craig and Liam Boyce battle for possession

Play was pedestrian with a final ball or spark of energy lacking, particularly from the home side who seemed unusually off the pace.

Saints midfielder Chris Millar's frustrating injury woes continued when he had to hobble off before half-time, Scott Brown replacing him.

Liam Craig tried to change the complexion of the game with a powerful strike from distance but a slight deflection did not take it away from Fox's grasp.

A rare, but wonderful piece of invention allowed Swanson to escape two defenders but his clipped cross was nodded away just as the crowd thought a chance was on.

County manager Jim McIntyre could not have been happy with what he was watching and introduced Martin Woods in place of Ian McShane. It had little effect.

Liam Boyce began to emerge in the game with two headers as County looked to get balls in from wide areas but nothing to overly stretch Zander Clark in goal.

However, a disastrous decision from Davies nearly handed St Johnstone the opener.

The defender had the chance to clear but bizarrely tried to shepherd the ball back to Fox. Cummins slid in, got the ball across and Swanson, with the goal gaping, was off target. A great chance wasted.

The goal arrived moments later from Swanson's corner, which was nodded down by Shaughnessy to MacLean, who did not hesitate to slot home.

The home side tried to respond when Jonathan Franks cut inside and fired a left-foot shot but Clark did well to hold with attackers closing in.

Davies then had a free header which he sent off target before Wotherspoon denied County's Brian Graham with a block.

But the hosts simply did not offer enough with Tommy Wright's side now in control of the chase to finish fourth.

Line-ups

Ross County

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Fox
  • 2Fraser
  • 15Davies
  • 43QuinnBooked at 33mins
  • 7GardyneSubstituted forDingwallat 73'minutes
  • 8McShaneSubstituted forWoodsat 45'minutes
  • 36Irvine
  • 18Murdoch
  • 17Franks
  • 23Schalk
  • 10BoyceSubstituted forGrahamat 70'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Robertson
  • 9Graham
  • 19Dingwall
  • 21Woods
  • 24De Vita
  • 25Goodwillie
  • 26Woods

St Johnstone

Formation 4-4-2

  • 12Clark
  • 22Fisher
  • 6Anderson
  • 14ShaughnessyBooked at 88mins
  • 3Scobbie
  • 18CumminsSubstituted forKaneat 85'minutes
  • 16SwansonSubstituted forEastonat 81'minutes
  • 7MillarSubstituted forBrownat 39'minutes
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 9MacLean
  • 26CraigBooked at 25mins

Substitutes

  • 1Mannus
  • 5Doyle
  • 11Sutton
  • 20Brown
  • 24Easton
  • 25Kane
  • 66Krachunov
Referee:
Stephen Finnie
Attendance:
3,329

Match Stats

Home TeamRoss CountyAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home4
Away9
Shots on Target
Home2
Away2
Corners
Home5
Away4
Fouls
Home17
Away9

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Ross County 0, St. Johnstone 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Ross County 0, St. Johnstone 1.

  3. Post update

    Martin Woods (Ross County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Darnell Fisher (St. Johnstone).

  5. Post update

    Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Steven Anderson.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Martin Woods (Ross County).

  7. Post update

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

  8. Post update

    Foul by Andrew Davies (Ross County).

  9. Post update

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

  10. Booking

    Joe Shaughnessy (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  11. Post update

    Tony Dingwall (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Joe Shaughnessy (St. Johnstone).

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Christopher Kane replaces Graham Cummins.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Andrew Davies (Ross County) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right following a corner.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Scott Brown.

  16. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Martin Woods (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Brian Easton replaces Danny Swanson.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Graham Cummins (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Stewart Murdoch (Ross County).

  20. Post update

    David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Top Stories