Kane nets stoppage-time winner for St Johnstone against St Mirren

Injury-time secured third straight defeat for St Mirren.

Chris Kane nets stoppage-time winner for St Johnstone against St Mirren SNS Group

Substitute Chris Kane netted in stoppage time as St Johnstone ground out a 1-0 win over faltering St Mirren at McDiarmid Park.

An underwhelming encounter in Perth looked set to end in stalemate until the hosts were awarded a penalty, from which the striker forced home at the second attempt after initially being denied by goalkeeper Zach Hemming.

The victory lifted St Johnstone from 11th to 10th in the Premiership, while it was a third straight defeat for fourth-placed St Mirren, who have now won only one of their last seven matches.

Home boss Craig Levein made one change to the team that started Sunday’s 3-1 defeat by Celtic as Tony Gallacher was handed his first start since August in place of Dara Costelloe.

There were two tweaks to the St Mirren side that kicked off the 2-0 defeat by Rangers at the weekend as Charles Dunne and Lewis Jamieson took over from Conor McMenamin and Richard Taylor.

St Mirren had the bulk of the early possession, but it was the Perth side who had the first attempt of the evening in the 19th minute when Matt Smith shot wide from distance after Gallacher’s cross from the left caused momentary panic in the visiting defence.

The Buddies almost went ahead in the 24th minute, but Jonah Ayunga was denied by goalkeeper Dimitar Mitov after getting himself free in the box before Jamieson – on the follow-up – saw his close-range effort deflected over by Sven Sprangler.

Following a rare burst of fluent passing, St Johnstone carved out an opportunity just before the half hour but Smith was unable to get enough power on his close-range volley, from Graham Carey’s cross, to trouble Hemming.

The visitors threatened in the 47th minute but Greg Kiltie could only head straight at Mitov after Mark O’Hara’s looping cross from the right bounced into his path six yards out. At the other end, Carey fizzed a dangerous ball across goal.

Following another lengthy lull in goalmouth action, St Mirren centre-back Dunne tried his luck with a 25-yard strike that forced Hemming into an excellent save in the 71st minute.

Two minutes later, the Buddies went even closer when Toyosi Olusanya burst clear down the right and rolled the ball across the face of goal to fellow substitute Mikael Mandron who watched in dismay as his close-range effort struck the inside of the post.

Just as it looked set to end in stalemate, however, Kane – who had missed a big opportunity in the 78th minute – was given the chance to win it deep into stoppage time after Dunne was penalised for a foul on Liam Gordon.

The striker saw his penalty saved by Hemming but reacted well to force in the rebound.

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