By Ramsay Banks
Ali McCann missed a penalty for St Johnstone as they drew 0-0 with Ross County on the Scottish Premiership’s opening day.
The midfielder was handed spot-kick responsibility in the second half but couldn’t convert as both sides settled for a point. County had their chances through Keith Watson and Regan Charles-Cook headers.
The first half was fragmented between head knocks to Watson and Callum Hendry, plus a series of nippy County fouls. The game stopped and started without gaining much of a rhythm. St. Johnstone had momentum before the half-time whistle blew.
Midway through the second half, St. Johnstone were awarded a stonewall penalty as Coll Donaldson upended Reece Devine on the left-side of the penalty area. McCann stepped up and fired the ball well over the crossbar
Saints kept pushing and nearly broke the deadlock. Two substitutes combined, Stevie May having a shot parried before Liam Craig turned the rebound onto the post. Here are three things we learned from the match.
From the outset, the two sides were disciplined in their play, and careful out of possession. It was clear to see that neither team wanted to give away anything needlessly on opening day. This kind of organisation could go a long way toward Premiership success in the games to come.
Whether it be a threadbare squad, or a new manager, there were plenty of reasons to suggest that Ross County would lose to St Johnstone. Their performance suggested that they could be a lot more competitive this season than critics may think.
Next for St. Johnstone comes a huge Europa League third qualifying round tie against Turkish giants Galatasaray. Saints will travel to Istanbul with competitive minutes in the tank and hope in their hearts.
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