Saints U20's 0-0 Hearts (19.9.16)

Saints headed into Monday’s clash with Hearts looking to bounce back from their last defeat at McDiarmid to Ross County by emulating their 3-2 win over Partick Thistle, and brought in experienced defender Liam Gordon as the hosts looked to match the first team’s triumph over the Jambos two days earlier.

Hearts kicked off, shooting into the Ormond Stand, and McKenzie was called into early action when a powerful Hearts corner slipped his grasp, but the stopper managed to hold on at second time of asking.

First team star Dario Zanatta then came close, but Greg Page did well to deflect his effort over.

Greg Page came close for the hosts when he met a Simpson free kick, but the defender headed over from close range.

Saints made an early change, bringing on Jamie Docherty for Paul Simpson after 38 minutes.

Robbie Muirhead brought the game to life by crashing a twenty yard thunderbolt off the crossbar as the Saints defence stood by and watched.

With less than five minutes to go, Eoghan McCawl struck a low driven effort at goal, and keeper Mason could only fumble the shot behind, but the corner came to nothing.

The referee blew for half time goalless, and Alec Cleland’s side would look to do more of the same at the back in the second half and add a little extra up front. Half time: St Johnston 0-0 Hearts.

Saints made one change at half time, bringing on Cameron Thomson for Liam Gordon at half time.

Saints kicked off, but Zanatta was again quick off the mark and blazed a Currie cutback over after 49 minutes.

On the hour mark, Jason Kerr saw his bullet header blocked by Mason as the game remained goalless.

The chance of the game fell to George Hunter who blasted a Jardine cut back into the tangle of legs in maroon shorts from 12 yards.

Hearts took off Beith for Petkov after 65 minutes and Morrison for Paton on 70 as the game remained a stalemate.

George Hunter tried his luck from a set piece, but the ex-Spartans striker saw his rasping effort parried by keeper Mason.

Greg Page saved Saints’ skin by clearing a Zanatta strike off the line with fifteen minutes to play as both teams hunted a late winner.

Russell McLean came on for Currie on 76 minutes before testing McKenzie not once but twice in the space of a minute, forcing two corners out of the stopper.

Muirhead tested his luck from range, but the Saints keeper wasn’t planning of conceding tonight.

Daniel Jardine’s mazy run almost ended with a goal, had it not been for Jones Leon’s late interception for the visitors.

Jardine made way for Johnson with 10 minutes to go, and the substitute found himself in space out on the left hand side within moments of coming on, but nobody could meet his cross.

In the dying embers, George Hunter found himself one on one after being threaded through beautifully, but his effort was matched by keeper Mason who was in excellent form.

And it finished goalless as Saints collectively manages two clean sheets against Hearts first team and development side in the space of three days. Full time: St Johnstone 0-0 Hearts.

St Johnstone: McKenzie, Lumsden, Page, McCawl, Kerr, Gordon (Thomson, 46), McLaren, McCann, Hunter, Jardine (Johnson, 80), Simpson (Simpson, 38). Unused subs: Sinclair, Polson.

Hearts: Mason, Smith, Brandon, Nowak, Leon, Beith (Petkov, 65), Zanatta, Paton (Morrison, 70), Currie (McLean, 76), Muirhead, Oshaniwa. Unused subs: Smith, Vladislav, Baxter.

Referee: Fordyce Man of the Match: Eoghan McCawl

Match report by Ross Gardiner.