London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 18 Apr 1998 Hearts 1 St Johnstone 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Sporting Life ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Jim Jefferies <-auth Simon Buckland auth-> Robert Orr
[R Grant 79]
1 of 001 Dave McPherson 75 L Premier H

Hearts 1 St Johnstone 1

By Simon Buckland

Brave Hearts' title shout ended in surprisingly muted fashion as Roddy Grant earned St Johnstone a valuable point at Tynecastle.

Substitute Dave McPherson put Hearts ahead after 75 minutes with a well-worked strike, but the noise that prompted soon subsided.

Grant levelled just three minutes later to restrict Hearts to a draw which now means they are six points adrift of leaders Celtic with only three games remaining.

The club's season now rests on the Scottish Cup final against Rangers on May 16 at Parkhead after this uneven performance.

The climax might have been fraught with late opportunities for both teams, but as a whole the match badly lacked the spark of Hearts' electric displays earlier this term.

St Johnstone's hard-fought point was well made and means they remain in firm contention for a fourth-placed finish and probable UEFA Cup spot.

Gary Naysmith's injured foot meant Neil Pointon was in for his first start since New Year's Day as one of three changes from the team beaten 2-1 atHibernian last week.

An injury to keeper Gilles Rousset gave Roddy McKenzie a rare chance toimpress while recent recruit Lee Makel stepped in because of Colin Cameron's pelvic problem.

Neither side took charge at the outset, but after 11 minutes George O'Boyle seized on a Pointon error to fire an angled drive just past the upright.

McCann almost surprised Alan Main in the St Johnstone goal after 16 minutes when the keeper dwelled too long on a backpass, but held off the challenge from his Scotland B colleague.

Paul Kane's chipped pass to Roddy Grant fed O'Boyle to slot past McKenzie after 27 minutes but the effort was ruled out for offside.

Saints full-back John McQuillan tested McKenzie at his near post with a well struck shot after cutting inside the out of sorts Pointon, but the keeper was up to the test.

Hearts were struggling to impose themselves on a low-key contest, but Makel almost transformed the Tynecastle mood with a 25-yard drive which crashed against the crossbar.

In the closing minute of the half, Jim Hamilton's cross found McCann inspace but his close-range shot was deflected over by Alan Kernaghan as the deadlock remained.

Hearts' slim title hopes were clearly still strong enough to weigh on their mind as they struggled during a goalless first-half.

Both sides made a change at the break, Hearts introducing McPherson to calm their backline in place of Grant Murray, while the visitors brought on Keith O'Halloran for Nick Dasovic.

McCann started the half brightly for Hearts with a clever chip that cleared Main, but also the crossbar as it dipped too late.

Grant missed a clear opening for St Johnstone after 48 minutes lacking composure when through on McKenzie, driving the ball against the replacement keeper's legs.

Hearts' veteran forward John Robertson joined the fray after 49 minutes in place of Adam as home manager Jim Jefferies sought to make greater impact on the game.

Jose Quitongo was Hearts' third and last substitute and he had a penalty claim denied when O'Neil was accused of having handled in the area after 68 minutes.

The verdict was just a corner, albeit one which almost produced a goal when David Weir's header was cleared off the line by McMahon, but Hearts were not be denied.

McPherson pushed upfield with purpose exchanged passes with Quitongo on the right and slotted a low shot beyond the reach of Main after 75 minutes.

But Hearts' lead lasted only three minutes, St Johnstone responding with their next attack, O'Halloran's shot clipping the post and the rebound falling kindly for Grant to tap in.

With seven minutes remaining, Hearts might have secured victory but Hamilton's effort was turned away again off the line this time by Preston.

At the opposite end, Stefano Salvatori denied Grant a winning in the final minute with another goalline clearance, but neither side had done quite enough to deserve a win. end


Hearts: McKenzie, Murray (McPherson 45), Pointon (Quitongo 64), Weir, Salvatori, Ritchie, McCann, Fulton, Adam (Robertson 50), Makel, Hamilton.

Booked: McCann.

Goals: McPherson 75.

St Johnstone: Main, McQuillan, Preston, Dasovic (O'Halloran 45), Weir, Kernaghan, McMahon (Jenkinson 78), Kane, Grant, O'Boyle, O'Neil.

Subs Not Used: McCluskey.

Booked: McQuillan.

Goals: Grant 78.

Att: 15,034

Ref: B Orr (Kilbarchan).

Taken from

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