It was our web reporter Mark Gillespie with the report from Wednesday afternoon’s draw at Perth…
at McDiarmid Park, Perth
on Wednesday 30th December 2020, kick off 3pm
St Johnstone 0 Hamilton Academical 0
Our last match of the year, and given the current country and covid situation, and still no fans, it was an unusual midweek afternoon kick off, but we maybe rode our luck late on but stood up to be counted and ground out a valuable point in Perth. Despite a resolute display we end 2020 at the foot of the table. But boss Brian Rice says he got everything he asked for from his players on the day.
“I wanted the game to be horrible, nasty, hardworking, and energetic. I got all of that.” He told Accies TV
“We’re delighted with the point. It’s always difficult here, butI think you saw a normal Hamilton fighting spirit today. We weren’t going to get beaten and contested every ball.”
“We need everyone back fit from the Covid situation. We’re slowly getting there. Ross Callachan should be back for the weekend. Hopefully, we can also get one or two in over the next couple of weeks to help us out.”
It was just one change from last weekend’s line up, with Nathan Thomas making an impact in just his second league start. Likewise, St Johnstone made just the one switch, Callum Booth replacing Scott Tanser in Calum Davidson’s starting eleven.
A game of chances ensued, both sides going all out for a valuable three points. Thomas almost had the perfect start inside the opening two minutes, bursting into the St Johnstone box, with ex Accies youth ‘keeper Zander Clark saving at his feet.
It was to be the best chance of a lively opening 45. Slowly the hosts had the bulk of possession, Booth with their first real opportunity on 25 minutes, deflected high over Gourlay’s bar.
Forced to play two defenders in midfield, the Accies instinct may have been to sit off the home side. It invited Saints forward as they worked the ball into good areas around the Accies box. Ex Accie Stevie May should probably have done better on the half hour, Wotherspoon crossing from the left, but the ex Accie could only head wide from six yards.
Accies tried to by pass midfield, going long for Moyo. But it was still Thomas finding pockets of space, with a shot on target saved by Clark five minutes from the break.
St Johnstone will still have been disappointed not to go in ahead, Chris Kane put through on goal by Ali McCann but firing straight at Gourlay on the half time whistle.
Accies held firm and looked a better side after the break, Stirling and Odofin in midfield pushing forward to relieve the pressure and allow us a better share of the ball.
Another opportunity arrived on the hour mark. Once again Thomas had the beating of the Saints defence, threaded through by Stirling. But he chose to go for goal, with Winter waiting in the middle probably the better option.
Saints still had their sights of goal, mostly from distance, as play raced end to end. But Gourlay barely had a meaningful save to make as the game ground to a stalemate. One goal looked like being enough.
The home side did carve Accies open in the closing 10 minutes, spurning three opportunities in swift succession. Firstly, Kane fluffed a free header inside the box, with Wotherspoon and sub-Michael O’Halloran finding the side netting with opportunities shortly after.
Accies clung on, a third clean sheet in six games offering room for hope for in the derby at the weekend.
St Johnstone: Clark, Rooney, Gordon, McCart, McNamara, McCann, Craig, (O’Halloran, 86) Booth, Wotherspoon (Davidson, 86), May, Kane; Subs Unused:Conway, Parish, Bryson, Melamed
Accies: Gourlay, Odoffin, McMann, Stirling, Easton (c) (Stanger 75), Hamilton, A Martin, Winter, Moyo, Thomas (Owolabi 77), Hodson, Subs Unused: Scully, Trafford, Hughes, Mimnaugh, Munro, C Smith, Johnson,
Bookings: Hamilton, 90, Winter, 90+3
Referee:David Munro, Assistants: Drew Kirkland and Joe Lawson; 4th Official: Craig Napier