Everyone seems to be running out of superlatives for St Johnstone. Five clean sheets and victories in a row, could they make it six against a Kilmarnock side firmly in the race for a European place after their impressive victory at Tynecastle?
Tommy Wright opted to name the same St Johnstone starting 11 that battered Hamilton Accies 4-0 last time out. Steve Clarke’s Killie made two changes, Greg Stewart replaced Aaron Tshibola to partner Kris Boyd up front and Stephen O’Donnell came in for the man who scored the winner at Hearts, Ross Millen.
Bland first half
David Wotherspoon had the first real opportunity from a free kick. Liam Craig ran over the ball but the Canada international’s effort nipped under the wall, proving comfortable for Bachmann in goal. On second glance, it may have taken a tiny deflection off Dicker but it was a routine save for the Austrian.
Killie’s front duo of Boyd and Stewart exchanged before the latter clipped a cross into the box, Kirk Broadfoot’s header taking a nick off Joe Shaughnessy before Zander Clark came out to gather.
Matty Kennedy would send a tame effort goalward to signal the end of a first 45 with very few chances indeed, half opportunities not even coming close in truth. 0-0 certainly a true reflection.
In the second half, Zander Clark was called into question early on. Scott Tanser’s cross was headed away by Broadfoot and as Killie broke, Kris Boyd’s effort deflected off Jason Kerr but set up for Greg Stewart to hit sweetly on the volley, the keeper denying him with a fantastic save to his right hand side to keep it goalless. A great reflection of the keeper’s current form.
Liam Craig laid off to Scott Tanser outside the box from a free kick as everyone in the box stood still. The left back sent an effort flashing just wide of Bachmann’s right hand post, great strike by the left back but still the game was deadlocked.
Penalty claims turned away
Stephen O’Donnell would flick a header over the bar from a Killie corner before Kris Boyd claimed Kilmarnock should have had a penalty with Shaughnessy tussling with the striker and appearing to bring him down, nothing doing according to Willie Collum.
Up the other end, Scott Boyd appeared to bump Chris Kane out the way inside the Killie area. The striker, off the bench, looked to chase down a loose back pass but was cut off by the centre back. Again, no penalty said Collum.
Matty Kennedy nearly snatched all three points for the hosts late on, cutting inside from a wide position and rattling the junction. The rebound was blasted over by Murray Davidson and it was to be a stalemate in Perth, surprisingly, between two of the more exciting teams in the division.
Saints’ winning run came to an end but six clean sheets can’t be overlooked, they don’t play until facing Hearts who on the flip side are in a shocking run of form, midweek on Wednesday December 5th.
Killie host Hibs on Saturday at Rugby Park after picking up what may prove to be a valuable point on the road.