St. Johnstone vs Livingston kicked off at 12:30 in the last Scottish Premiership game of the season. The match was at McDiarmid park and the referee for the occasion was Craig Napier.
The opening 45 minutes were incredibly close and neither team could really stamp their authority on the game. The ball was rarely in the possession of one team for any prolonged period of time and chances were at a minimum. Sloppy passes were common and a disjointed St. Johnstone team lacked the cohesion of recent months, a rare sight.
A much changed St. Johnstone squad took about 10 minutes to settle into the game and the first chance of the match came when a Booth cross to the back post was flapped clear by Stryjek in the Livingston goal. 'Livi' struggled to get it clear and there was some scrappy play in and around the box before it was hoofed out of danger.
David Wotherspoon had a chance to test Livingston with a free-kick but Emmanuel-Thomas in the wall headed it behind for a corner. The resulting set-piece resulting in Saints' best chance of the opening 45 as the away side struggled to get the ball out, falling to May who - on the turn - guided the ball goalward but it was caught well by the keeper.
Zlamal saved the best chance of the half after some neat footwork from 'JET', who danced past the St. Johnstone defence on the right and curled an effort goalward, but a steady hand from the Czech kept the score level.
There was very little action through the half as the teams battled for 5th place. It looked as though the players were scared to make a mistake and nobody was willing to make a gamble.
[Rooney and Kabia challenge for the ball]
St. Johnstone came into the second half looking to keep doing what they did in the first, a draw would be enough to secure 5th.
Liam Craig and Murray Davidson were all conquering in the middle of the park, providing a bite that kept Livingston at bay. Emmanuel-Thomas was a dangerous presence in the Saints box but never really got a chance at goal.
The undoubtedly biggest chance of the entire 90 came when Shaun Rooney - who was off the boil today - dilly dallied on the ball inside his own area and was robbed by Kabia. The Irishman was pressing high and had the whole goal to aim at, but Zlamal stood tall and saved from close range.
The score remained 0-0 for the rest of the match and while it was intense I was surprised that Livingston didn't throw men forward and the game fizzled out just as St. Johnstone wanted. A good solid performance, without being great.
[Wotherspoon on the ball]
Man of the Match - Murray Davidson
While I do think Jamie McCart did have a top class game too, my MOTM was 'Muzz'. He was all-action today in the middle of the park and did not stop running from minute 1-90. Great to see him get a full 90 minutes, for the first time since February.
[Davidson puts in a challenge]
St. Johnstone Qualify For Europe
This result means that St. Johnstone have secured a 5th placed finish in the League as the Scottish Premiership season draws to a close.
Although 5th is not strictly a European spot, with both finalists being in the top 5, the European Scottish Cup place will go to the winner and the other spot will be handed to the loser.
This means that in Davidson's first season in the job he has won the League Cup, reached the Scottish Cup final and secured European football for next campaign. The 6th time St. Johnstone will have ventured into Europe in the last decade.
[Callum with the cup - Image: @SNS]
An amazing achievement which is utterly astounding. St. Johnstone are into EUROPE!