Accies web reporter Mark Gillespie with Saturday’s details…
William Hill Scottish Cup, Round 4
McDiarmid Park, Perth
Saturday 19th January 2019 at 3 pm
St Johnstone 2 Hamilton Academical 0
For the second successive year we exit the Scottish Cup at the first time of asking, as early first half goals from Jason Kerr and Tony Watt helped the hosts advance to the fifth round. It’s a seventh straight loss to the Perth side in all competitions. After conceding virtually from kick off, Accies struggled to really salvage anything against a well organised Saints unit.
Manager Martin Canning commented after the game. “Individual errors have cost us today. In the 90 minutes I didn’t think there was a lot between the teams. I thought the two new boys did well. It’s a notoriously difficult place for us anyway, but when we concede two cheap goals and allow St Johnstone to sit behind the ball, it becomes even more so.”
“I thought in the second half we tried and we probed, but just weren’t able to break down a well organised and disciplined side.”
“I understand fan frustration. Any fan wants to win games. It’s part of my job to take criticism on the side-line. If my dad’s been abused that’s not acceptable, but I won’t make any long term decisions based on that. I’m committed to this club.”
The manager made four changes to his line up from the Lanarkshire derby three weeks ago. New signings Andreu and Steve Davies started in a new attack. Alex Gogic made his first start this season, with Ryan Fulton starting in goal in place of the injured Gary Woods.
Tommy Wright meanwhile kept faith with the side which won at Dundee before the break, and within 45 seconds his side had picked up from where they left off.
Matty Kennedy won a free kick on the right flank, and Liam Craig floated a delivery to the far post. Kerr just nipped in front of Fulton to loop a header over the Accies keeper.
The frustration will be that Accies looked sharp enough in response, having more than a share of possession and getting forward. Both Andreu and Davies were involved in promising build up play, as Accies looked to find a way back into the game.
But we couldn’t make the best of good attacking situations, an Aaron McGowan header on 24 minutes about all we had to show for it. And Saints showed their ruthless edge a minute later as they doubled the lead with their second attack.
It all came as a high ball through the middle caught the Accies defence out of position. It allowed Callachan to get a shot away from the edge of the box, and Fulton could only parry the ball out for Tony Watt to bury the rebound from five yards.
It could easily have been 3-0 on 41 minutes, as Matty Kennedy found space on the left flank to drill a cross across goal. Chris Kane’s header near post header flashed just over the bar.
Accies enjoyed plenty of second half possession and set piece opportunities in the second half, but again couldn’t find any killer ball, as Saints sat in and hit on the counter. Mickel Miller finally gave Zander Clark some work to do on 52 minutes, but his edge of box shot was easily held by the former Accies youth keeper.
Saints looked comfortable for the most part, only creating a few half chances themselves in a second half stalemate. Watt found the top of the net on 62 minutes as he got on the end of a Kennedy cross. Wotherspoon blasted over the bar on 70 minutes after more build up play down the right.
Andreu might have sown some home doubts with a snap shot from the edge of the box two minutes from time, Clark getting down to his right to tip away. Accies play again midweek, as we return to league business.
St Johnstone: Clark, Foster, Kerr, Shaughnessy, Craig, Callachan, Watt, (McMillan, 89), Kennedy (Swanson, 75), Wotherspoon; Subs Unused: Anderson, Nydam, McCann, Gordon, Hurst
Saints Goals: Kerr, 45 seconds, Watt, 25
Saints Cautions: Craig, 54
Accies: Fulton, McGowan, McMann, Gordon, Kilgallon, Imrie (c), Davies (Boyd, 68 ), Miller, Gogic (Taiwo, 73), Andreu, Sowah; Subs Unused: Marsden, Bingham, Penny, Want, Martin
Accies Cautions: Gogic, 34
Referee: John Beaton Assistants:David McGeachie and Andy Milne