Scottish Premiership
St MirrenSt Mirren0St JohnstoneSt Johnstone0

St Mirren 0-0 St Johnstone: Jim Goodwin's side held in Paisley

By Jordan ElgottBBC Scotland

St Mirren have lost ground in their fight for Scottish Premiership survival after being held by St Johnstone.

Hearts' win over Hibernian, followed by Hamilton Academical's shock victory at Ibrox combined to leave Jim Goodwin's side just four points off bottom spot.

A Jon Obika effort hit the post in the first-half for St Mirren, while Jason Kerr headed against the bar late on for the visitors.

St Johnstone's Liam Craig was sent off with 10 to play for two yellow cards.

Tommy Wright's side are now unbeaten in six league matches, but lose ground in the race for a top-half finish.

St Mirren still lacking creativity

Goodwin was bitterly disappointed following Saturday's Scottish Cup quarter-final exit to Aberdeen. It was not just his side's result which had him down. It was their failure to create clear-cut chances.

But he was not prepared to sacrifice defensive stability for attacking ability. In fact, he did the opposite, bringing in Ross Wallace as a holding midfielder for the more attacking-minded Cameron MacPherson.

It worked, insomuch as St Mirren were rock solid. Only Anthony Ralston really troubled Vaclav Hladky - a comfortable save for a goalkeeper of his quality - while Kerr's header was a brilliant effort. But the defensive discipline of both sides - until the last 10 minutes at least - ruined the match as a spectacle.

The opening stages had offered hope, with both sides opting for a direct approach in possession. There were a couple of last-ditch challenges, mazy dribbles, and almost a moment of pure brilliance from Obika to break the deadlock.

The striker swivelled to create half a yard before unleashing a left-footed effort which hit the inside of the far post and rolled along the line. Despite the lunge of strike partner Alex Jakubiak, the ball somehow stayed out.

That was about as good as it got for the next hour or so. Some quick St Johnstone play culminated in Ralston's effort, then Obika ghosted on to a Wallace free kick, but his composure was lacking and his effort was wayward.

It was becoming increasingly evident that something either exceptional or extraordinary was needed to earn all three points, and Jamie McGrath almost found the latter, as his cross missed everyone before bouncing off the woodwork and clear.

With the game labouring towards a conclusion, Craig made things interesting as he earned himself a second yellow card by bringing down substitute Tony Andreu. That finally kicked the game into life.

St Mirren poured forward and Obika thought he had won it, only for Clark to somehow tip his low strike wide. McGrath then was inches away with a long-range effort, but it was too little too late for the hosts.

St Johnstone have lost just two league games since the start of December

St Johnstone are no slouches. They are now unbeaten in their last six league matches, while before this game, only Celtic had stopped them from scoring over the course of their last nine.

Ordinarily, it would be seen as a valuable point for the hosts. But this was no ordinary round of fixtures. With surprise wins for both Hearts and Hamilton, they are right in the middle of a relegation battle.

Man of the Match - Jon Obika

He missed a couple of chances, but Obika was comfortably St Mirren's biggest threat going forward.

He almost single-handedly engineered an opener and if Clark had not produced a save of the highest order, he would have won his side the game.

That's without a great deal of support from the rest of his team-mates. He has looked much-improved in recent weeks.

'On another night we may have nicked it' - reaction

St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin: "St Johnstone are no mugs, I don't know why people would expect us to turn up here and roll them over. But of course we're disappointed not to take all three points.

"It's another game after Saturday that we haven't been able to score. Unfortunately we weren't able to come up with the solutions but on another night we may have just nicked it."

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright: "I don't think either side deserved all three points. It was harsh on us to go down to 10 men but we battled away, we knew we would be put under pressure and it's another good point on the road."

Line-ups

St Mirren

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Hladky
  • 2Hodson
  • 5McCarthy
  • 22Famewo
  • 3Waters
  • 29WallaceSubstituted forChabbiat 84'minutes
  • 16FoleyBooked at 68mins
  • 17McGrathBooked at 77mins
  • 28JakubiakSubstituted forAndreuat 67'minutes
  • 11DurmusSubstituted forMoriasat 76'minutes
  • 9Obika

Substitutes

  • 10Andreu
  • 14McAllister
  • 18Mullen
  • 19Morias
  • 21Chabbi
  • 24MacPherson
  • 26Lyness

St Johnstone

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Clark
  • 21Ralston
  • 15KerrBooked at 72mins
  • 4McCart
  • 24Booth
  • 7Wright
  • 18McCann
  • 26CraigBooked at 79mins
  • 10WotherspoonSubstituted forO'Halloranat 65'minutes
  • 9KaneSubstituted forButcherat 83'minutes
  • 14MaySubstituted forSwansonat 74'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Tanser
  • 11Swanson
  • 12Parish
  • 16Butcher
  • 17O'Halloran
  • 19Holt
  • 23Gordon
Referee:
Euan Anderson
Attendance:
4,287

Match Stats

Home TeamSt MirrenAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home17
Away10
Shots on Target
Home4
Away1
Corners
Home9
Away5
Fouls
Home9
Away15

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, St. Mirren 0, St. Johnstone 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, St. Mirren 0, St. Johnstone 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jonathan Obika (St. Mirren) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Akin Famewo.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Tony Andreu (St. Mirren) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  5. Post update

    Offside, St. Johnstone. Alistair McCann tries a through ball, but Michael O'Halloran is caught offside.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jamie McGrath (St. Mirren) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

  7. Post update

    Corner, St. Mirren. Conceded by Callum Booth.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Calum Waters (St. Mirren) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right following a corner.

  9. Post update

    Corner, St. Mirren. Conceded by Jamie McCart.

  10. Post update

    Corner, St. Mirren. Conceded by Zander Clark.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jonathan Obika (St. Mirren) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Sam Foley.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Seifedin Chabbi (St. Mirren) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Sam Foley.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Mirren. Seifedin Chabbi replaces Ross Wallace.

  14. Post update

    Corner, St. Mirren. Conceded by Jamie McCart.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Matt Butcher replaces Christopher Kane.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Daniel Swanson.

  17. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Ross Wallace (St. Mirren) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  18. Dismissal

    Second yellow card to Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) for a bad foul.

  19. Post update

    Tony Andreu (St. Mirren) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Liam Craig (St. Johnstone).

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic29252284196577
2Rangers28204463194464
3Motherwell29143124037345
4Aberdeen2911993735242
5Livingston29109104138339
6Hibernian29910104146-537
7Kilmarnock2996143140-933
8St Johnstone2871292746-1933
9Ross County2978142959-3029
10St Mirren2868142336-1326
11Hamilton2959152950-2124
12Hearts28410143050-2022
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