St. Johnstone Pre-Split Season Review

Now that the opening 33 games of the Premiership season have been played, it is time for a season review.


It is safe to say that Saints have had a disappointing 2021/22 campaign up until this point. The Perthshire club have gone from the highs of a historic cup double, to the lows of a basement battle with Dundee in a bid to avoid automatic relegation.

[Matt O'Riley celebrates his goal against Saints]


Here is our review of St. Johnstone's season so far.


Goals


St. Johnstone have scored just 21 goals in the Scottish Premiership this season, 7 less than Dundee. Davidson's side have the worst attack in the league by far and have struggled to put the ball in the back of the net all season.


Our top scorer after 33 games is Callum Hendry, who has managed an astonishing 7 goals in 12 games since returning to McDiarmid Park in January, after having his loan spell with Kilmarnock cut short.

[Hendry has been St. Johnstone's main man since returning from loan]


Callum Hendry aside, Ali Crawford is 2nd in the list on 3 goals tied with Chris Kane. No other player has breached the 2 goal mark.


January recruit Melker Hallberg sits top of the St. Johnstone assist charts, with 3 to his name. Michael O'Halloran is 2nd on 2, with nobody else above 1 in the squad.


Best Performing Attacker: Callum Hendry


Overall, St. Johnstone's attacking form has been woeful.


So, how has the Saints defence been in comparison? In short; better.


Whilst the 7-0 hammering at the hands of champions elect Celtic has skewed the figures slightly, the St. Johnstone defence has conceded 44 goals in 33 games. This is less than Dundee, St. Mirren, Motherwell and Ross County.

[Clark and Cleary during the draw with Aberdeen]


Zander Clark has managed to keep 9 clean sheets this season - shutting out opposition attackers the 4th most of any goalkeeper in the division, with just Craig Gordon, Joe Hart and Allan McGregor ahead of him.


Best Performing Defender: Zander Clark


Form


St. Johnstone have endured a season of poor form. Whilst it has certainly picked up since the humiliation at the hands of Kelty Hearts, it has still been nothing to write home about - with that defeat to Celtic putting a real downer on a positive couple of weeks.


St. Johnstone failed to win a league game between the 30th of October and the 1st of February. A span of 94 days, 8 defeats and 2 draws.


That came off the back of an encouraging run of results, with a draw against Hearts and a win away to Dundee United providing Saints with a sense of optimism. This run was then ended with a 2-1 away win over Livingston, courtesy of a last gasp Crawford winner.

[Crawford celebrates his winner over Livingston]


Since the 22nd of January, St. Johnstone have won 4, drawn 4 and lost 4. A marked improvement which has seen the Perth side rise to 11th place in the table, 5 points above Dundee and 6 behind St. Mirren - with both teams still to play in the split.


If Saints can carry their post January form into the split, and play more like the them fans have become accustomed to then they can give themselves a chance of climbing to 10th in the table, away from the relegation play-off.


However, return to the dismal form before the turn of the year and Callum Davidson's side will be resigned to Championship football next campaign.


Season Highlights


Whilst there have been more downs than ups, there has undoubtedly still been plenty of high points for St. Johnstone this season.


The last minute winner over Livingston to end the winless run after what had felt like an eternity produced some great scenes in the away end, reminding St. Johnstone fans of what winning felt like and providing a sense of optimism.


Callum Hendry's spectacular last minute winner over Motherwell was sensational. A goal worthy of winning any football game and a moment to be remembered. This also gave Saints the edge on Dundee and a serious chance of avoiding automatic relegation.

[Hendry celebrates his late winner]


On the flip side, Ali Crawford's opener in the first minute against Hearts back in February was a real shock to the system for Saints. A beautifully worked goal and a finish to match caught the 3rd place side cold, on the way to a first home win since early October.


Stevie May's late winner away at Pittodrie to claim St. Johnstone's first win of the new campaign was incredible, and who could forget that 3-1 demolition of Tayside rivals Dundee at McDiarmid Park - it could have been 5 or 6 that day.


What Next?


Well St. Johnstone have 5 games to save their season now. Anything less than 7 points (including wins over Dundee and St. Mirren) would realistically mean that it will be the play-offs at best.


With Dundee, St. Mirren, Livingston, Aberdeen, and Hibernian left to play there are still 15 points up for grabs. Saints need to take as many as possible, with 10th place a real possibility if they can string a run together.


If Saints do finish in 11th place they will either face, Kilmarnock, Arbroath, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Partick Thistle or Raith Rovers - depending on the conclusion of the Championship season. They would then have to beat the team they face over 2 legs.


12th place would mean automatic relegation and a return to the Championship for the first time in over a decade.


10th place would secure another season of Premiership football.

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