Scottish Premiership
Hearts1St Johnstone0

Heart of Midlothian 1-0 St Johnstone

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Highlights: Hearts 1-0 St Johnstone

David Milinkovic's strike 39 seconds into the second half earned Hearts victory against 10-man St Johnstone.

Saints had a number of first-half chances with Chris Kane unfortunate to see a volley strike the crossbar.

Milinkovic's winner was his fifth of the season, pouncing on a break of the ball to finish.

Jon McLaughlin produced a number of key saves to keep the visitors out before a second yellow card for David Wotherspoon ended their challenge.

Hearts remain fifth in the Premiership, seven points adrift of Edinburgh rivals Hibernian.

The home side had not beaten St Johnstone at Tynecastle since August 2015 and Craig Levein's side had the bulk of early possession without making real inroads to the Saints defence.

It was the visitors who looked much sharper going forward and the home fans had goalkeeper McLaughlin to thank after he turned Wotherspoon's disguised free-kick around the post.

The Hearts stopper was a key figure and was called upon again as he raced from his line to deny striker Kane, who had run clear after beating the offside trap.

Craig Levein
Hearts manager Craig Levein oversaw another clean sheet - their ninth in 11 games

Saints' last four wins have been on the road and they looked extremely dangerous when given the opportunity to get forward.

The pitch was greasy and a slip by Hearts full-back Connor Randall allowed the visitors another opportunity.

Scott Tanser pounced but his left-foot shot was pushed wide by McLaughlin and Kane knocked the rebound into the side netting on the slide.

Hearts looked laboured going forward as the crowd became increasingly uneasy watching the flow of play.

Confidence was oozing from the Saints players and no more than with Kane, who was looking to add to his tally after scoring a hat-trick in the midweek Scottish Cup win over Albion Rovers.

He showed tremendous skill with a right-foot volley on the turn that crashed off the crossbar and away.

Tommy Wright's side then claimed for a penalty after Jason Kerr's header appeared to come of the arm of Hearts captain Christophe Berra.

Hearts made a change at the break with Michael Smith replacing Randall and they quickly took the lead.

Demetri Mitchell floated in a cross from the left that the Saints defence failed to clear and Milinkovic gained control and turned to fire low beyond Alan Mannus.

It was a severe blow for St Johnstone, who must have felt they had done enough to be ahead at that point.

David Wotherspoon is sent off
Wotherspoon's game ended after 62 minutes

Their task became harder when Wotherspoon received a second booking for a reckless challenge on Hearts debutant Joaquim Adao.

It seemed that would end their challenge but they continued to threaten with McLaughlin equal to Blair Alston's angled drive.

Kyle Lafferty passed up a glorious chance when Milinkovic played the Northern Irishman through, his shot hitting the side netting.

And, in a pulsating finish, Richard Foster fired in a left-foot volley that McLaughlin clutched on the goal line.

Post-match reaction

Hearts manager Craig Levein: "St Johnstone were slightly better than us in the first half and then I think we were better than them in the second.

"They ask questions of your centre-backs. They turned us, they put the ball in high, they threw long throws into the box. These are all legitimate ways of winning matches and you've got to deal with them.

"John Souttar, Christophe Berra and Jon McLaughlin stood up in that particular area.

"[McLaughlin] has had a lot of decent offers from down south, which is much more money than we can afford to pay but you never know.

"We're trying our best. The door is still open for him to stay."

Line-ups

Hearts

  • 1McLaughlin
  • 16RandallSubstituted forSmithat 46'minutesBooked at 89mins
  • 4SouttarBooked at 82mins
  • 6Berra
  • 24MitchellBooked at 79mins
  • 66AdaoBooked at 30minsSubstituted forBuabenat 65'minutes
  • 7AmankwaaSubstituted forMcDonaldat 71'minutes
  • 10Sutchuin-Djoum
  • 14Naismith
  • 11Milinkovic
  • 9Lafferty

Substitutes

  • 2Smith
  • 5Hughes
  • 8Buaben
  • 13Hamilton
  • 41Irving
  • 43Henderson
  • 46McDonald

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 5Shaughnessy
  • 6AndersonSubstituted forAlstonat 66'minutes
  • 15KerrBooked at 58mins
  • 19Foster
  • 8Davidson
  • 28WillockSubstituted forCraigat 74'minutes
  • 10WotherspoonBooked at 62mins
  • 3Tanser
  • 17JohnstoneSubstituted forMacLeanat 77'minutes
  • 25Kane

Substitutes

  • 4Alston
  • 9MacLean
  • 20McClean
  • 21Scougall
  • 22Watson
  • 26Craig
  • 30Hurst
Referee:
Andrew Dallas
Attendance:
16,197

Match Stats

Home TeamHeartsAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home56%
Away44%
Shots
Home8
Away12
Shots on Target
Home4
Away8
Corners
Home1
Away8
Fouls
Home13
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 1, St. Johnstone 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 1, St. Johnstone 0.

Attempt saved. Richard Foster (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Richard Foster (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian).

Booking

Michael Smith (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Michael Smith.

Foul by Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone).

Christophe Berra (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Attempt missed. Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the left side of the box is too high following a corner.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Richard Foster.

Attempt blocked. Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Jon McLaughlin.

Booking

John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt missed. Blair Alston (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a set piece situation.

Booking

Demetri Mitchell (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

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

Foul by Demetri Mitchell (Heart of Midlothian).

Foul by Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone).

Prince Buaben (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Steven MacLean replaces Denny Johnstone.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Liam Craig replaces Matty Willock.

Hand ball by Denny Johnstone (St. Johnstone).

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Anthony McDonald replaces Danny Amankwaa.

Attempt saved. Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Jon McLaughlin.

Attempt saved. Blair Alston (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Christophe Berra.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by John Souttar.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Blair Alston replaces Steven Anderson.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Prince Buaben replaces Joaquim Adao because of an injury.

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

Foul by Christophe Berra (Heart of Midlothian).

Dismissal

Second yellow card to David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) for a bad foul.

Foul by David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone).

Joaquim Adao (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Jason Kerr (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic26186254183660
2Aberdeen26164643291452
3Rangers25144746281846
4Hibernian2612863630644
5Hearts2691072723437
6Kilmarnock237882731-429
7Motherwell2585123136-529
8St Johnstone2375112234-1226
9Dundee2574142638-1225
10Partick Thistle2566132441-1724
11Hamilton2465133142-1123
12Ross County2655162845-1720
View full Scottish Premiership table

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