Mandron at the double as third-placed St Mirren hammer St Johnstone

The Paisley side won 4-0 in the battle of the saints on Saturday,

Mikael Mandron at the double as third-placed St Mirren hammer St Johnstone SNS Group

St Mirren strengthened their grip on third place in the Premiership table with a 4-0 home victory over St Johnstone, who remain winless.

Keanu Baccus’ stunning strike broke the deadlock before Mikael Mandron added two more after the interval and Greg Kiltie added a late fourth to draw the Paisley club level on points with second-placed Rangers.

St Johnstone played well in spells in the first half but now find themselves five points adrift at the foot of the table.

St Mirren made two changes from the team beaten by Rangers in their previous outing. In came Ryan Flynn for the suspended Ryan Strain, with Mandron replacing Toyosi Olusanya.

St Johnstone, in turn, made three changes following the goalless draw with Aberdeen. Out went Drey Wright, Graham Carey and Luke Jephcott, replaced by Diallang Jaiyesimi, James Brown and Nicky Clark.

Clark, making his first appearance of the season, had the first chance of the game but saw his free-kick attempt blocked for a corner.

The striker was next to threaten with a shot from distance that again was redirected for a corner before Dara Costelloe lashed an effort well off-target.

The home team had created nothing as an attacking force only to then score with their first shot of the match after 36 minutes.

There was plenty for Baccus to do when the ball was played to him just outside the box by Kiltie but his shot had both the power and precision to beat Dimitar Mitov in the St Johnstone goal.

The Australia international tried to repeat the trick minutes later but, from just inside the area this time, fired his attempt well over the bar.

St Mirren went on the attack at the start of second half but Mandron’s header from Scott Tanser’s free-kick lacked the power to beat the goalkeeper.

The striker would not be denied moments later when he pounced on a poor attempt from Brown to usher the ball back to his goalkeeper only for Mandron to nick in to fire a shot beyond Mitov.

St Johnstone kept trying to get a foothold back in the contest and Jay Turner-Cooke fired in a shot that Zach Hemming did well to pull out of the air.

A third goal after 71 minutes, however, killed their prospects. Mandron sent substitute Olusanya haring down the left wing and he weighted his pass perfectly for Mandron to thread his shot beyond Mitov.

Kiltie grabbed the fourth in the final minute, tapping in at the back post after Olusanya had helped on Mark O’Hara’s cross.

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