Scottish Premiership
St Mirren2Hearts0

Scottish Premiership: St Mirren 2-0 Heart of Midlothian

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Highlights: St Mirren 2-0 Heart of Midlothian

Adam Hammill's double ended a run of 12 league games without a win for St Mirren as they beat Hearts at the Simple Digital Arena.

Hammill gave St Mirren a stunning lead when he lobbed goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal from just inside the Hearts half.

And soon the 30-year-old winger had a second when he pounced inside the box and side-footed home.

The win gave manager Oran Kearney his first three points since taking charge at the beginning of September.

Saints have also closed the gap on third-bottom Hamilton Accies.

But for Craig Levein's side, it is now five games in all competitions without a goal, while Rangers' win over Livingston drops the Tynecastle outfit down to third in the Premiership.

Misplaced optimism

Hearts had not tasted victory since 23 October, failing to even score in their last four games - relinquishing their place at the top of the table and losing in the League Cup semi-final. Yet there was still a wave of optimism that followed them to Paisley, with 1,600 Hearts fans packing out the away end.

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It's been a long road - Kearney on first win

Not that they had much to shout about in a first half littered with mistakes. An early shot wide from Steven MacLean and a half-chance through a Jimmy Dunne header were all Hearts offered as they looked to improve on a poor record on visits to St Mirren, with just two goals scored in their previous five trips.

St Mirren were not having any more joy at the other end, though Kyle Magennis rattled the crossbar from inside the box, and Hearts goalkeeper Zlamal saved well at his near post to deny Stephen McGinn.

The game needed something to liven it up and it arrived right at the start of the second half from Hammill.

Collecting a pass, he brought the ball down, turned, and from at least 40 yards out saw Zlamal off his line and cracked a high ball over him and in.

Then a Hearts defensive horror show contributed to St Mirren's second. They failed to deal with a cross from the left, and Hammill was able to finish from close range without much of a challenge.

Hammill could have made it a treble but after an excellent run his left-foot shot lacked the power to trouble Zlamal.

Hearts were desperately short of firepower up front. Their main attacking threat was coming from Peter Haring at set-pieces. Goalkeeper Danny Rogers - making his league debut for St Mirren - did not have a meaningful save to make over the 90 minutes.

And it could have been four, with Zlamal having to tip over a Paul McGinn looping effort late on.

Creative Saints get their reward - analysis

BBC Scotland's John Barnes at the Simple Digital Arena

St Mirren's performance was in sharp contrast to their 11th place in the table. Manager Kearney will hope this result - his first win as boss of the Paisley club - will be the one that spurs them onto a better run of form. They were more than a match for Hearts and were more creative.

Hammill's wonder goal was opportunistic, but he showed great awareness to check the position of the Hearts goalkeeper before executing the 40-yard strike.

Without the experienced Anton Ferdinand you worried for Saints in defence, but the combination of Alfie Jones and Jack Baird showed a steady, determined approach that worked to keep the opposition at bay. On-loan Aberdeen goalkeeper Rogers - in following the departure of Craig Samson - had a quiet afternoon.

Since top scorer Steven Naismith was sidelined by injury against Dundee last month Hearts have struggled on the goal-scoring front. Prior to this match they had gone 404 minutes without a goal.

Despite having a second half Arnaud Djoum headed effort disallowed for offside, they lacked drive and energy particularly in the offensive third. That is why Hearts have now gone eight hours and 14 minutes without scoring.

St Mirren manager Oran Kearney celebrates with the fans after the match
St Mirren manager Oran Kearney celebrates with the fans after the match

Post-match reaction

St Mirren manager Oran Kearney: "It's been eight weeks since I've been in. It's been a long road. It's been tough on the players.

"To win a game in that manner today - had we won a couple of games and lost a couple of games then we're sitting mid-table. To win that game with the scars of the last few weeks and what the players have been through, I think it's a huge testament to them and the character that they showed today.

"In the past few weeks there's been so many positives bar the results on the pitch. But we had showed big signs that it was coming. I could see it in the players. All morning, and when I got to the ground, I had a good feeling, a gut feeling."

Hearts manager Craig Levein: "We didn't play with an awful lot of conviction, particularly in the last third.

"I think everybody is waiting for somebody to provide some piece of magic to win us a game.

"The fact that we're not scoring - that's always a situation that gets everyone a little bit nervous.

"I was really angry at the end of the first half as there was a really bad tackle on Michael Smith which I felt was a red card. That didn't go our way."

Line-ups

St Mirren

  • 1Rogers
  • 2McGinnBooked at 79mins
  • 15Baird
  • 19Jones
  • 39Erhahon
  • 21Hodson
  • 4McGinn
  • 16McShane
  • 77HammillSubstituted forSmithat 71'minutes
  • 7MagennisBooked at 38mins
  • 11JacksonSubstituted forMullenat 84'minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Smith
  • 18Mullen
  • 20Cooke
  • 22Willock
  • 26Lyness
  • 28MacPherson
  • 44Eckersley

Hearts

  • 1Zlamal
  • 2Smith
  • 3Dunne
  • 28Dikamona
  • 17GaruccioSubstituted forMitchellat 62'minutes
  • 15WightonSubstituted forMulraneyat 45'minutes
  • 9ClareSubstituted forLeeat 54'minutes
  • 5Haring
  • 38Morrison
  • 10Sutchuin-Djoum
  • 18MacLean

Substitutes

  • 7Bozanic
  • 8Lee
  • 11Mitchell
  • 13Doyle
  • 20Cochrane
  • 23Mulraney
  • 26Godinho
Referee:
Craig Thomson
Attendance:
5,177

Match Stats

Home TeamSt MirrenAway TeamHearts
Possession
Home47%
Away53%
Shots
Home8
Away9
Shots on Target
Home6
Away1
Corners
Home3
Away4
Fouls
Home19
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, St. Mirren 2, Heart of Midlothian 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, St. Mirren 2, Heart of Midlothian 0.

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

Foul by Ethan Erhahon (St. Mirren).

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

Substitution

Substitution, St. Mirren. Daniel Mullen replaces Simeon Jackson.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Ethan Erhahon.

Corner, St. Mirren. Conceded by Zdenek Zlamal.

Attempt saved. Paul McGinn (St. Mirren) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Simeon Jackson (St. Mirren) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian).

Booking

Paul McGinn (St. Mirren) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Paul McGinn (St. Mirren).

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

Foul by Paul McGinn (St. Mirren).

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

Attempt blocked. Simeon Jackson (St. Mirren) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.

Foul by Lee Hodson (St. Mirren).

Callumn Morrison (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Ian McShane (St. Mirren).

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

Substitution

Substitution, St. Mirren. Cameron Smith replaces Adam Hammill because of an injury.

Foul by Lee Hodson (St. Mirren).

Callumn Morrison (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt saved. Adam Hammill (St. Mirren) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt missed. Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box is too high.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Alfie Jones.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Demetri Mitchell replaces Ben Garuccio.

Foul by Adam Hammill (St. Mirren).

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

Foul by Simeon Jackson (St. Mirren).

Ben Garuccio (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Jake Mulraney (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right.

Goal!

Goal! St. Mirren 2, Heart of Midlothian 0. Adam Hammill (St. Mirren) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Olly Lee replaces Sean Clare.

Lee Hodson (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Sean Clare (Heart of Midlothian).

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Alfie Jones.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Ethan Erhahon.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic139223062429
2Rangers1383235112427
3Hearts148241915426
4Kilmarnock147431912725
5St Johnstone147341618-224
6Aberdeen136341613321
7Hibernian135442314919
8Livingston135441210219
9Motherwell134271522-714
10Hamilton143110931-2210
11St Mirren142210826-188
12Dundee141211832-245
View full Scottish Premiership table

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