Scottish Premiership
Hearts2St Johnstone1

Hearts 2-1 St Johnstone: Unbeaten leaders remain five points clear

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Highlights: Heart of Midlothian 2-1 St Johnstone

Unbeaten Hearts remain five points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership after Peter Haring and Jimmy Dunne scored headers in a win over St Johnstone.

Both came from corners, either side of the break, while Callumn Morrison came close with a fierce shot for Craig Levein's side.

Hearts striker Steven MacLean missed a glaring chance against his former side.

St Johnstone's Ross Callachan scored to set up a tense finish.

But his strike from 12 yards was just a consolation and leaves the Perth side eighth in the table, following a third defeat in seven league outings.

The visitors did not provide much in the way of a threat, with David McMillan making a mess of a header with the game at 0-0, while Drey Wright shot wide before Callachan's strike.

Full-backs to the fore

Hearts were far more dynamic side in the final third, with 22 shots, 10 of which were on target.

Michael Smith was the first home player to threaten and the defender could have had a first-half hat-trick as he charged down the right flank at every opportunity.

Left-back Demi Mitchell was also prominent in attack and his fizzing shot was acrobatically pushed over the crossbar by Zander Clark.

That save came soon after Haring's breakthrough on 25 minutes, with the Austrian midfielder looping home a header as St Johnstone failed to clear an Olly Lee delivery.

Hearts were playing with an impressive tempo and a slick move deserved better than Morrison's hurried finish close to half time.

The teenage midfielder came close making amends early in the second half as his strike from the edge of the box flew narrowly over the top.

MacLean spent six years at McDiarmid Park before his surprise summer move to Hearts and the 36-year-old looked sure to score when Clark pushed a Steven Naismith shot into his path. However, the forward could only blaze over with the goal at his mercy.

The visitors were undone soon after when Dunne rose to power in another set-piece from Lee.

St Johnstone continued to battle gamely and their endeavour was rewarded when Callachan found the net from near the penalty spot after the ball broke his way.

However, Tommy Wright's side did not manage to seriously trouble goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal in the remaining 13 minutes.

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Hearts 'feel good about themselves' - Levein

Midfield duo continue to sparkle - analysis

BBC Scotland's Brian McLauchlin at Tynecastle

In the past few seasons, Hearts' activities in the transfer market have been at best questionable, but nothing could be further from the case in the summer gone by.

Lee and Haring have formed a formidable midfield partnership that is one of the key reasons for Hearts' excellent start to the season.

Lee had been foundering around the lower echelons of English football but the former West Ham youth player has grabbed his opportunity to rejuvenate his career with both hands.

In Haring, Levein has uncovered a gem. The 25-year-old has made a seamless move from defence to midfield and his energy and nous for a goal will play a major part if Hearts are to maintain their title push.

Hearts deserved three points and the supporters' chant of "we shall not be moved" is an indication of the mood at Tynecastle before next weekend's visit to Ibrox.

'Confidence comes with winning'

Hearts manager Craig Levein: "The only downside was that we could have made the game a hell of a lot easier by taking our chances. We should have had the game dead and buried after an hour.

"We played some fantastic stuff. Whenever we moved the ball quickly, we were excellent. The confidence in the team is improving because we are winning matches."

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright: "Hearts were better than us. They showed more energy, particularly in the first half.

"First half, we were careless. I don't know if there was fatigue from the other night. It was a lazy performance at times.

"The last 20 minutes, we showed more. But we didn't show that urgency for long enough."

Line-ups

Hearts

  • 1Zlamal
  • 2SmithSubstituted forDikamonaat 84'minutes
  • 4Souttar
  • 3Dunne
  • 11Mitchell
  • 38MorrisonSubstituted forBozanicat 79'minutes
  • 8Lee
  • 5Haring
  • 10Sutchuin-Djoum
  • 18MacLeanSubstituted forAmankwaaat 87'minutes
  • 14Naismith

Substitutes

  • 7Bozanic
  • 12Amankwaa
  • 13Doyle
  • 15Wighton
  • 17Garuccio
  • 21McDonald
  • 28Dikamona

St Johnstone

  • 1Clark
  • 19Foster
  • 15Kerr
  • 5Shaughnessy
  • 3Tanser
  • 7Wright
  • 4AlstonSubstituted forCraigat 84'minutes
  • 28Callachan
  • 33KennedySubstituted forSwansonat 57'minutes
  • 9Kane
  • 16McMillanSubstituted forWattat 66'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Anderson
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 11Swanson
  • 17Nydam
  • 26Craig
  • 30Hurst
  • 32Watt
Referee:
Nick Walsh
Attendance:
17,240

Match Stats

Home TeamHeartsAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home60%
Away40%
Shots
Home22
Away9
Shots on Target
Home10
Away3
Corners
Home9
Away2
Fouls
Home13
Away8

Live Text

Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 2, St. Johnstone 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 2, St. Johnstone 1.

John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone).

Foul by John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian).

Tony Watt (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Danny Amankwaa replaces Steven MacLean.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by John Souttar.

Attempt blocked. Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Substitution

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

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Clévid Dikamona replaces Michael Smith because of an injury.

Jimmy Dunne (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone).

Attempt missed. Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Oliver Bozanic replaces Callumn Morrison.

Goal!

Goal! Heart of Midlothian 2, St. Johnstone 1. Ross Callachan (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

Demetri Mitchell (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Richard Foster (St. Johnstone).

Attempt saved. Djoum (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt missed. Steven Naismith (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Djoum (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Blair Alston (St. Johnstone).

Attempt missed. Danny Swanson (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right.

Foul by Demetri Mitchell (Heart of Midlothian).

Tony Watt (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Olly Lee (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Tony Watt (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Tony Watt replaces David McMillan.

Goal!

Goal! Heart of Midlothian 2, St. Johnstone 0. Jimmy Dunne (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Olly Lee with a cross.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Scott Tanser.

Foul by Steven MacLean (Heart of Midlothian).

Danny Swanson (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Steven MacLean (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Attempt saved. Steven Naismith (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

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

Foul by Jason Kerr (St. Johnstone).

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Danny Swanson replaces Matthew Kennedy.

Attempt saved. Callumn Morrison (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Joe Shaughnessy.

Attempt blocked. Olly Lee (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Hearts76101331019
2Hibernian7421136714
3Kilmarnock7412116513
4Celtic741274313
5Rangers6321156911
6Livingston632164211
7Aberdeen723256-19
8St Johnstone7223712-58
9Hamilton7205610-46
10Motherwell7115713-64
11St Mirren7115313-104
12Dundee7106414-103
View full Scottish Premiership table

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