St. Johnstone played out a competitive goalless draw at McDiarmid Park against Dundee United on Saturday, with neither side being able to snatch all 3 points.
[James Brown blocks a Tony Watt cross]
Here are 3 talking points from St. Johnstone 0-0 Dundee United:
Callum Davidson named the exact same line-up as the one which managed to snatch all 3 points against Livingston on Tuesday, this is the first time that Callum Davidson has been afforded the luxioury of playing the same set of 11 players in back-to-back games all season.
[The St. Johnstone squad warming up]
Covid-19 isolation, injuries and suspensions have hampered St. Johnstone's season with last seasons everpresents such as Wotherspoon, Rooney, Gordon, May and Kane have all had spells on the sidelines.
Being able to field the same starting 11 had a clear effect against Dundee United, with Davidson's side continuing their decent run of form. Saints look a much better side and consistency was at the bedrock of last seasons success, hopefully this can help us go on a decent run, and move up the table.
Poor Refereeing Costing Us Again
Referee Colin Steven's performance certainly left a lot to be desired, with the home crowd not impressed by the officiating on show on Saturday.
[The officiating drew the ire of many supporters]
Neither was manager Callum Davidson who said:
"I’m not happy with the sending off,
"I didn’t think there was anything in it and I still don’t after watching it back.
“If you are going to book players for what Melker did then every player on the pitch is going to get booked.
“For me it is really soft and another disappointing decision against us."
St. Johnstone have been on the wrong side of numerous refereeing clangers this season, such as, McCart's 'handball' given as a penalty, as well as a yellow card - leading to a sending off - against Hibernian and Teddy Jenks handball winner in the Aberdeen game, to mention a few.
Stevens booked Saints midfielder Melker Hallberg for a tug in the first half which seemed harsh, before giving the midfielder a second booking not even 10 minutes into the second-half, after some slight contact in the middle of the park with a United player. He allowed play to go on, with the ball going out for a Dundee United corner before returning and dismissing the midfielder.
[Melker Hallberg is baffled by his after receiving his marching orders]
This was an incredibly harsh desicion and really hampered Saints, Hallberg has been one of the clubs best players in his opening two games. Dundee United grew into the game a bit after this, with Tony Watt coming closest after striking the post.
However, St. Johnstone showed real fight and determination, stopping United from really threatening and almost grabbing a goal late on - with Glenn Middleton's strike from range going just wide.
Performances and Results are Improving
This result makes it 3 undefeated for St. Johnstone, although 2 of those are admitedly home goalless draws this is still an improvement on the last couple of months.
Saints look much better on the park, and the mood in Perth has certainly lifted, not just amongst the supporters but also in the squad with new signings and fresh ideas seeming to be a big boost.
St. Johnstone are much closer to the team they were last year at the moment, with more passing moves and high pressing a massive difference to what we have witnessed recently. Dan Cleary, Callum Hendry and Ali Crawford in particular have certainly improved the side, with the latter almost scoring early on, however, his effort crashed the bar.
[Crawford strikes the woodwork]
Overall, St. Johnstone remain in 11th place following this game, but move a point clear of Dundee after they threw away a 1-goal lead at home to Ross County, losing 2-1.
Things are looking up for Callum Davidson's side who looked all but dead and buried not even 2 weeks ago. 10th place is the aim, and there are still plenty of games to go.