St Mirren maintained their impressive start to the season as they claimed a 4-0 win over St Johnstone – their biggest league win of the season – to move level on points with Rangers, at least until the Ibrox side play tomorrow afternoon.
St Johnstone’s problems, however, remain clear to see with Steven MacLean’s side still without a league win this season. They are five points adrift at the foot of the table and in the evidence of this afternoon look shorn of confidence and belief that they have the wherewithal to get themselves out of their current predicament.
“Whether we played well first half or not, it is not acceptable,” said MacLean. “The goals we lost are unacceptable. It’s the basics of football. In the second half, we just imploded and it looked like a couple of players chucked it.
“It is my responsibility and some of these players will be lucky if they play for me again. It is not happening under my watch and it might be I need to play young boys. I thought it was really, really poor. You need to show a bravery in those situations and you need people to lead. I just thought we lacked that all over.
“I brought 11 players in and got rid of 17 and it just looked like some of them didn’t want to be there. That’s the truth. People will come and say this and that and I know it is my responsibility, but I am just telling you what I saw. I am sure a lot of you saw the same thing as me.
“They say a leopard never changes its spots. It is just unacceptable. You’ve got supporters paying good money here and you have got to do the basics of football.”
It had been a fairly even – and forgettable opening period – but when Keanu Baccus opened the scoring eight minutes before the break it seemed to suck the life out of St Johnstone. Mikael Mandron netted again just minutes after the restart before claiming his second and St Mirren’s third to add to the pressure MacLean is now under.
His side had started fairly brightly given the disparity between both teams in the table but their fragility was evident in MacLean’s chastisement of the fourth official who, to be fair to him, took it fairly well.
MacLean’s frustration, however, intesnified as St Mirren took the lead eight minutes before the break.
There had not been save of note for either goalkeeper to make – a Nicky Clark effort that was deflected wide was only the real moment of goalmouth note – before Saints took the lead with their first meaningful attack of the game.
Mikael Mandron started it as shiffled the ball to Greg Kiltie. He played in Baccus who curled a sumptious 20-yard effort into the top left-hand corner to give the hosts a lead that seemed to suck the life out of St Johnstone.
It got worse again for the Perthshire side immediately after the break. It was Mandron who turned goalscorer this time as he exploited a mistake from fullback James Brown. The Saints player attempted to chest the ball back but to goalkeeper Dimitar Mitov but it was loose and carried too little power enabling Mandron to nick in and slot home.
The striker netted his second and St Mirren’s third after Toyosi Olusanya burst forward and laid the ball into the path of Mandron who, with his run unmatched, simply touched the ball well beyond the reach of Mitov.
To add salt to the wounds, Greg Kiltie added a fourth at the death after Olusanya had hit the post and the ball fell to his path.
▶ Check out the latest original football content – including exclusive interviews, features and unique video content across Scottish, English and world football on PLZ Soccer YouTube HERE