19 Mar Hearts 0-3 St Johnstone: Davidson double sinks sloppy Jambos
By Craig Turnbull at Tynecastle
St johnstone moved up to fourth with a comprehensive victory over a surprisingly lacklustre Hearts side.
Murray Davidson took advantage of woeful defending to help himself to a double inside the first 20 minutes.
Hearts slightly improved in the second half but never really troubled Alan Mannus and Darnell Fisher wrapped up the points for Saints late on.
Take nothing away from the visitors though they were very good and moved up to fourth to boost their chances of securing a fifth consecutive top-six finish and Wright was understandably very pleased.
“I’m delighted for the players. We showed what a good side we were today from the first whistle. I don’t think there are many teams that could come here and basically dominate for 90 minutes and probably could have scored a lot more,” he said.
“I can’t complain with 3-0, a clean sheet and limiting a good side to few opportunities. We controlled large parts of it and some of the football we played was excellent.
“It’s a big win. A top-six place isn’t secured yet but we are in a good position as three teams have got to get ahead of us.
“We played well today and can take that into the last two games before the split.”
Robbie Neilson’s men entered this match on the back of four clean sheets but there was no sign of that steely resistance as St Johnstone profited from sluggish defending to go two up inside the first 20 minutes through Davidson.
In St Johnstone’s first attack Liam Craig whipped the ball into a congested penalty area and Davidson powered a header beyond Alexander as the Hearts defenders were left on their heels.
McGhee had a great chance to equalise at the other end as Juanma’s delivery found the full-back with a late run to the back post but he headed straight at Mannus.
That was to prove pivotal as Saints doubled their advantage on 21 minutes. Again a simple ball in from Craig into the box and Davidson reacted quickest to head home.
Robbie Neilson put those goals down to naivety from his side but says they will learn from it.
“I was disappointed we have been doing really well this season but we’re not good enough to win games when five or six don’t perform,” he said.
“We lacked a bit of experience and looked a bit naive at times with conceding goals from two set plays which is something we pride ourselves on.
“I don’t think we missed Alim Ozturk. We just weren’t at our aces today.
“We’re in a great position in the league, but we still had three 19-year-olds in the back four.
“It was a tough game against a very experienced team but they will learn from it.”
In the second half, Kane almost extinguished all hope of Hearts getting back into the match when he was played through by Craig but Alexander narrowed the angle to deny the striker.
Neilson sacrificed Augustyn and put Reilly on to give them more impetus up front but it was Walker who almost scored with a cracking volley which went narrowly over.
At the other end, Craig produced a terrific left-foot effort from 25 yards which beat Alexander but came crashing off the bar.
But they weren’t to be denied a third when Fisher was played through by Wotherspoon who squeezed the ball past Alexander from a tight angle.