Scottish Premiership
DundeeDundee0St JohnstoneSt Johnstone2

Dundee 0-2 St Johnstone: Perth side move into top six

By Andy CampbellBBC Sport Scotland

St Johnstone secured a sixth successive Scottish Premiership away win to end 2018 in the top half of the table and leave Dundee bottom.

Scott Tanser's cross went in off the post after 35 seconds and Liam Craig celebrated becoming St Johnstone's second-highest all-time appearance holder with a deserved second goal.

Dundee, who miss the chance to go above St Mirren, rarely threatened.

The gap between the bottom two stays at two points as the winter break begins.

When the top flight resumes, St Johnstone will be well placed, with Tommy Wright's side - who have a game in hand - five points off Aberdeen and seven behind third-placed Kilmarnock.

Solid Saints, despair for Dundee

Tanser's outswinging cross from the left dropped over goalkeeper Jack Hamilton's head and went in off the upright to give the Perth side the perfect start - a first St Johnstone goal for the left-back.

And they seemed unsatisfied with their advantage. Tanser went through and shot at Hamilton before Tony Watt and Matty Kennedy had efforts blocked in quick succession and Chris Kane tested the goalkeeper.

The hosts could not get a foothold in the game and were restricted to speculative crosses until Calvin Miller went close from the left.

Kennedy's influence grew at the start of the second half with the winger drawing a save from Hamilton then firing wide.

And it was from his cross that the Perth side doubled their lead as he received David Wotherspoon's short corner and delivered for Kane to head on to Craig for a close-range half-volley.

It would have been worse for Dundee had Hamilton not denied Kennedy, Kane and substitute David McMillan and the hosts never looked like denying St Johnstone a sixth consecutive clean sheet on the road.

Liam Craig scores
Craig got his first goal of the season

'Stability key for St Johnstone' - analysis

BBC Scotland's Tyrone Smith at Dens Park

There are a number of factors behind St Johnstone's success, chief among them is undoubtedly stability. That is typified by Liam Craig, who made his 362nd appearance for the club to move second in the club's all-time appearance list behind only Steven Anderson.

It is no surprise St Johnstone will start 2019 in the top half of the table.

But in stark contrast, Dundee's troubles continue. Jim McIntyre will be thankful for the winter break and the chance to overhaul his squad in an attempt to preserve their Premiership status.

'Dundee second best' - reaction

Dundee manager Jim McIntyre: "We were second best all over the pitch. We played a major part in gifting that first goal and after that St Johnstone never looked back.

"St Johnstone were first to most balls, they were first to most second balls too. I'm not going to hide behind that, it was miles away from where it needs to be."

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright: "We have dominated from the first whistle to the last and it is as good an all-round team performance that the players have given me, maybe in my whole time here.

"Thirty-four points after 20 games is an incredible return for us. It is what teams at the very top of the league do - they go away from home, they keep clean sheets and they win games. We've done it."

Line-ups

Dundee

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Hamilton
  • 2Kerr
  • 23BoyleBooked at 64mins
  • 6O'Dea
  • 3Ralph
  • 27CurranBooked at 81mins
  • 8KamaraSubstituted forKallmanat 45'minutes
  • 4WoodsBooked at 76mins
  • 17MillerSubstituted forNabiat 64'minutes
  • 18McGowan
  • 20Miller

Substitutes

  • 12Parish
  • 14Nabi
  • 15Inniss
  • 19Kallman
  • 28Spence
  • 45Moore
  • 47Lambert

St Johnstone

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Clark
  • 19Foster
  • 5Shaughnessy
  • 15Kerr
  • 3Tanser
  • 33KennedySubstituted forSwansonat 82'minutes
  • 28Callachan
  • 26CraigBooked at 76mins
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 9Kane
  • 32WattSubstituted forMcMillanat 82'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Anderson
  • 11Swanson
  • 16McMillan
  • 17Nydam
  • 18McCann
  • 23Gordon
  • 30Hurst
Referee:
Don Robertson
Attendance:
6,868

Match Stats

Home TeamDundeeAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home7
Away19
Shots on Target
Home1
Away11
Corners
Home2
Away6
Fouls
Home10
Away7

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Dundee 0, St. Johnstone 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Dundee 0, St. Johnstone 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. David McMillan (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Kenny Miller (Dundee) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Danny Swanson (St. Johnstone).

  6. Post update

    Jesse Curran (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Substitution

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

  8. Substitution

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

  9. Booking

    Jesse Curran (Dundee) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Jesse Curran (Dundee).

  11. Post update

    Matthew Kennedy (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Dundee. Conceded by Richard Foster.

  13. Post update

    Joe Shaughnessy (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Benjamin Kallman (Dundee).

  15. Booking

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

  16. Booking

    Martin Woods (Dundee) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  17. Post update

    Matthew Kennedy (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Martin Woods (Dundee).

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Tony Watt (St. Johnstone) header from the left side of the six yard box is just a bit too high.

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Benjamin Kallman (Dundee) header from very close range is saved in the centre of the goal.

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