Chances were few and far between in this game and it took until the 70th minute for a goal and eventual winner to appear, right-back Danny McNamara popping up with a powerful strike to hand Callum Davidson’s men an important win over Alex Dyer’s.
Both sides had incentives in this game. A win for St Johnstone would continue their unbeaten run, pull them further away from the bottom and very close to the top six, Killie looking to strengthen their position in the latter.
It’s hard to recall much of note happening in the opening half. The first 15 minutes saw Davidson’s men carry almost all of the possession and it was a theme continued throughout the first 45.
Little was being done when on the ball, however, no shots being created by the home team. For what Killie lacked in possession they made up for in two big chances from corner kicks. The first was a Kirk Broadfoot header after 23 minutes that cracked the bar.
Another Chris Burke corner caused havoc before half-time, his cross reaching Nicke Kabamba who’s effort was blocked by Jason Kerr, Greg Kiltie having a go from the rebound and having a penalty call waved away as the ball hit McNamara on the arm.
It was a first half of fine margins and a goal was needed to open this up. St Johnstone had their own penalty call waved away 49 minutes in as Craig Conway tumbled in the box, no spot kick awarded.
Davidson’s side then had one fumbled into the goal but was chopped off for offside as the fog descended upon McDiarmid Park.
Things were getting scrappy as the likes of Alan Power and Murray Davidson headed into the book for hard challenges, frustration perhaps seeping in as both teams huffed and puffed for a goal.
McNamara made sure the Saints got one. A ball in from the left was cleared only as far as the Irish youth international, who was primed and ready at the 18-yard box’s edge to slam home an important goal.
A stuffy game opened up as Saints looked more dangerous on the counter as Kilmarnock’s attacks became more urgent. St Johnstone were able to see things out to claim a big win over Kilmarnock. Here are three things we learned.
Since 2010, there’s only been two occasions when this fixture has been separated by more than two goals. History repeated itself in Perthshire as a tight contest played out.
Both teams had some chances during the game but not enough attacking penetration was found consistently throughout the game. It’s always very close when the Perth Saints and Killie meet.
Big win for Saints
Each of these teams have good defensive qualities, each backline holding firm throughout. But again at home, Davidson was hoping it wasn’t going to be a case of Deja Vu for his team.
They hadn’t scored a home goal since the end of August before this but McNamara’s thumping effort broke that duck and extended their unbeaten run to five games ahead of next week’s League Cup meetings.
Similar story for Killie
Davidson was praying a repeat of previous matches didn’t haunt St Johnstone but it was his counterpart who suffered this fate. For the third game on the spin, Dyer’s men were beaten 1-0.
They are doing well in defensive areas but things haven’t fallen their way in attack over these matches. Dyer will hope the League Cup matches against League One Clyde and Dumbarton provide scope for confidence builders.