By David Buick
The battle of the Saints in Paisley ended all square as St Mirren and St Johnstone played out a goalless draw at the Simple Digital Arena.
St Mirren started the brighter of the two sides and had the best chance of an uneventful first half as Jonathan Obika hit a low left footed effort which came back off the post.
The game did come to life in the second half as Obika had another big chance as he got on the end of an in-swinging Ross Wallace free kick but couldn’t direct his effort goalward.
Jamie McGrath saw a cross evade everyone which Zander Clark had to tip onto the post as the home side pressed for an opener. St Johnstone then had their best chances of the game as Anthony Ralston saw an effort save by Vaclav Hladky and Jason Kerr hit the bar with a header.
Liam Craig was shown a red card with just over 10 minutes to play for a second bookable offence which resulted in his side having to sit in and try and secure a point.
The Buddies pushed for a winner in the closing stages, but Perthshire Saints stopper Clark did fantastically to keep his side in it with a fingertip save to deny Obika and secure a point for his side.
Results elsewhere mean St Mirren have been dragged closer to the relegation places whilst St Johnstone failed to make some ground on the top six. Here are three things we learned.
Lack of cutting edge proves costly for the Buddies
Following a disappointing Scottish Cup exit at home to Aberdeen at the weekend in which the Paisley Saints failed to create clear-cut opportunities, it was a lack of creative spark and clinical finishing that cost St Mirren again.
Jim Goodwin’s team relied heavily on Obika to provide the spark against the Perth side, and whilst the big striker came close on a couple of occasions, he couldn’t find the net.
There was a real lack of creativity from the Saints players and the chances that the Englishman did have were made by himself. Goodwin will be hoping the likes of Ilkay Durmus, Tony Andreu and Alex Jakubiak can get back to being a creative force in the coming weeks to take some of the pressure off Obika as his side look to get back amongst the goals.
St Johnstone miss chance to put real pressure on top six sides
Following Hibs’ defeat in the Edinburgh derby on Tuesday night, Tommy Wright knew that a win for his side would have taken them to within two points of the Jack Ross’s men in sixth place.
St Johnstone have been in great form in recent months and are unbeaten in their last six league games, but for their fans, this will be seen as a real opportunity missed in their chase for a top six spot.
Having gone down to 10 men in the second half it would be difficult to see this as a poor result but nevertheless a chance missed for the Perth side.
Clark comes up big
St Johnstone keeper Clark was back at his best as he pulled off a couple of sensational saves to protect a point for his team. Two fingertip saves, firstly tipping McGrath’s cross onto the post and then late on he pulled off a great low save to deny Obika a winning goal.
Wright will be delighted that his goalkeeper was there with big saves when it really mattered for his side to seal a point for the 10 men.