Saints 1-0 Livingston

Saints headed into Wednesday’s clash with Livingston looking to build on their first win of 2019 over Hamilton.

Murray Davidson and came back into the squad at the expense of Chris Kane and Michael O’Halloran began his third spell in Perth on the bench, with international clearance from Australia coming through just in time.

Livi got the game underway, shooting into the SSE Family stand, and Craig Sibbald had the first shot of the game on 50 seconds, but the effort wasn’t close enough to Zander Clark’s goal to trouble the stopper.

On five minutes, Liam Craig flashed Saints’ first effort wide, with a tempting loose ball bouncing to the midfielder who lined up a trademark long range effort, but the veteran couldn’t find the target.

Saints had a penalty shout on the quarter hour mark as Murray Davidson’s lofted pass would have fallen for Tony Watt, but the striker appeared to be impeded. Referee Dallas, however, waved play on.

The first real action came five minutes later as Zander Clark dived well to his left to tip wide a Ryan Hardie drive, as the Lions looked to open the scoring.

The hosts countered and Richard Foster set his sights on his first goal of the season, but the fullback’s attempt was always rising.

Tommy Wright’s men carved out their first effort with 27 minutes on the clock after tenacious work from Matty Kennedy earned the Perth side a free kick on the touchline between the corner flag and the box.

Liam Craig’s short delivery was met by David Wotherspoon on the half volley, but the Canadian’s shot was headed off the line.

Craig then tried his own luck with a dead ball from 30 yards, but Liam Kelly tipped over. A stramash from the resulting corner was eventually cleared as the game remained goalless.

Ross Callachan came close with ten minutes of the half to go, with his daisy cutter flying narrowly wide.

With the whistle looming, Clark pounced to deny Lithgow before the centre half could slot home a loose ball, but the teams went in scoreless at the break.

Saints started the second half in a spritely manner, but the first never chance never came until the hour mark. The opportunity fell for the visitors, and Halkett replicated Craig’s free kick from the first half, and Clark matched the save.

Saints swapped Callachan for Chris Kane moments later, looking to add more firepower up front.

After an uneventful second half, the home side finally made the breakthrough as Matty Kennedy's header was parried for Davidson to smash home on his return from injury. 1-0.

Seconds after the restart, Chris Kane looked to have broken through but the Livi backline were able to shield the ball out of danger before the sub could capitalise.

As they looked to defend their lead, Saints swapped Kennedy for Blair Alston with just over five minutes remaining.

As injury time loomed, Tommy Wright brought on Michael O’Halloran for his third debut at the expense of Tony Watt.

But there was no late drama and Saints wrapped up their first three points in 2019, making it 100% in 2019 and four consecutive clean sheets in all competitions. Full time: St Johnstone 1-0 Livingston.

Saints: Clark, Foster, Kerr, Shaughnessy, Tanser, Davidson, Craig, Callachan (Kane, 62), Wotherspoon, Kennedy (Alston, 84), Watt (O’Halloran, 89). Unused subs: Hurst, Anderson, Swanson, Gordon.

Goals: Davidson (76) Bookings: Foster, Davidson, Wotherspoon

Livingston: Kelly, Gallagher, Halkett, Lithgow, Lamie, Byrne, Sibbald, Pitman (Tiffoney, 79), Erskine (Cadden, 79), Lawless (Wylde, 72), Hardie. Unused subs: Stewart, Brown, Jacobs, Lawson.

Bookings: Pittman, Sibbald

Attendance: 1946 Referee: Andrew Dallas Man of the Match: Jason Kerr

Match report by Ross Gardiner.