St Mirren were without a win in 13 games but had taken what could be a valuable point away at Dundee. Second bottom faced second placed, coming into this clash, Hearts who hadn’t scored or won in four games themselves.
Oran Kearney, still without a win in charge of the Buddies coming into this one, made several changes from the draw at Dens Park. One enforced through Craig Samson retiring to take up a goalkeeping coach role at Sunderland to join previous St Mirren gaffer Jack Ross, Aberdeen loanee Danny Rogers. Anton Ferdinand dropped out of defence for Jack Baird, Ryan Edwards cant’ play against his parent club, meaning the third and final change was the reintroduction of club captain Stephen McGinn.
Craig Levein’s Hearts still feeling the full extent of their current injury woes. Sean Clare came in for Olly Lee in their only change following their disappointing, and rare, defeat at Tynecastle at the hands of Kilmarnock.
First chance fell to the visitors, looking to put an end to a miserable month. Michael Smith galopped forward on the overlap, as he often does, crossing for Steven MacLean. The 36 year old slamming into the side netting, close to breaking Hearts goal drought as of late.
Seven straight defeats for St Mirren prior to the Dundee draw. They were a whisker away from taking the lead in this one. Adam Hammill crossed for Simeon Jackson and as Jimmy Dunne headed away, it broke to Kyle Magennis who advanced into the area before smashing off the crossbar.
A Sean Clare free kick was worked out to the right to find Ben Garuccio in an unorthodox position for the left back to take up. The Aussie crossed for Jimmy Dunne to help on and as Clevid Dikamona kept the chance alive, he crossed for his centre back partner once more.
The Irishman’s looping header was scrambled away. From the follow up, Callumn Morrison’s strike was blocked and it came out to the initial taker Clare but St Mirren were able to clear once more. Stephen McGinn’s strike up the other end was the last notable chance of the half, decent save by Bobby Zlamal.
The Czech had done well to keep Hearts in it at one end but you could argue he was at fault for the Jambos falling behind. An Adam Hammill lob, from what must be around 35-40 yards out, would put the Buddies in front after he spotted the keeper off his line. Take nothing away from the strike, it’s a great effort from the Scouse winger but the goalkeeper must be disappointed in himself this time.
It would take less than ten minutes for Hamill to double his tally for the afternoon. He sent a curling effort past Zlamal into to the bottom corner, meaning Hearts have scored 0 whilst conceding 11 in their last four matches, a horrendous spell of form for the men in maroon.
Lifeline…or so it seemed
Hearts thought they had pulled one back when Arnaud Djoum headed home from an Olly Lee free kick but after it was ruled out for offside, it was an accurate reflection of Levein’s side’s day and their form as of late.
Adam Hammill, on a hat trick, nearly made it a perfect outing following a slack pass from Hearts’ stand in captain Peter Haring. The winger had lots to do before getting himself into the area, but he sent a tame effort towards Zlamal, a routine stop for the keeper.
The Czech shotstopper also making a great save to deny Paul McGinn late on. Steven MacLean was to be denied a clear penalty late on for the Jambos but it would have had no impact on the result, a thoroughly deserved victory for the home side.
The first time the Buddies have scored more than one goal in a game since the opening day, a 2-1 victory over Dundee on the same patch of land, could this spark a turnaround under Kearney for St Mirren? They next play Hamilton at home on Saturday, a huge fixture at the foot of the table.
The Jambos next host Rangers on Sunday at Tynecastle looking to stop the rot, 494 minutes since the capital club last scored. The goalless streak continues for the Jambos, worrying times considering their earlier form this campaign.