Hearts remain unbeaten after sharing spoils with St Johnstone

The visitors fought back to take a point at McDiarmid Park.

Hearts remain unbeaten after sharing spoils with St Johnstone SNS Group

Hearts maintained their unbeaten start to the cinch Premiership season after fighting back to earn a 1-1 draw with St Johnstone.

Liam Gordon had put the Perth side in front before Josh Ginnelly equalised late in the first half for the Tynecastle club.

There had been a pitch inspection an hour before kick-off on the back of the torrential rain that had fallen throughout the day but referee Steven McLean was content enough with the surface to let the game go ahead.

St Johnstone made four changes from the team beaten by Celtic. In came Lars Dendoncker, Murray Davidson, Ali Crawford and Stevie May to replace Efe Ambrose, Craig Bryson, David Wotherspoon and Glenn Middleton.

Hearts’ top goalscorer Liam Boyce was one of three changes from the side that drew with Dundee, with Alex Cochrane and Ben Woodburn also dropping out. In came Armand Gnanduillet, Andy Halliday and Ginnelly.

It was Gnanduillet who had the first chance of the game, the striker heading wide from Michael Smith’s cross.

But it was the home team who moved in front after 11 minutes. It was poor defending from Hearts to allow Cammy MacPherson’s corner to drift all the way to the back post where Gordon had a tap-in.

The visitors responded with a Ginnelly shot from the edge of the box that sailed high into the stand, while Smith was also wasteful with a chance that the Northern Irishman dragged well wide.

Jamie McCart then came close to scoring at the other end with a header from a MacPherson corner before Craig Gordon made a brilliant stop from Chris Kane after May had partially blocked the goalkeeper’s attempted clearance.

Gordon was called into action again not long after, sliding out of his goal to deny Kane and then May. The St Johnstone fans shouted for a free-kick for either handball or a foul but McLean gave neither.

That proved costly when Hearts equalised after 40 minutes against the run of play. Beni Baningime played in Ginnelly and he finished well past Zander Clark from the corner of the box.

The visitors could have been ahead at the break but Gnanduillet’s header from Halliday’s corner was well saved by Clark, before the Frenchman saw another chance thwarted early in the second period.

John Souttar then nearly scored from 30 yards with an audacious effort that went just over, before Reece Devin threatened at the other end in a rare St Johnstone second-half attack as the teams settled for a point apiece. 

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