Livingston 1-1 Saints (12.7.16)

Saints headed into their first pre season friendly in Scotland on the back of a fine 2-1 win over Glentoran in Belfast last week which featured goals from Steven MacLean and Chris Kane. Tommy Wright’s side took on recently relegated Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena, and the manager gave new signing Michael Coulson his first start, while Tam Scobbie and Chris Millar also came into the starting XI.

Hosts Livi kicked off, and it was they who fashioned the first chance, and Mullin almost capitalised on confusion between Anderson and Clark, but the St Johnstone goalkeeper recovered to catch his ball into the box time.

Chris Kane came close for Saints on four minutes, crashing his shot from 20 yards just wide after a quick break, as the young striker looked to impress again.

But after 10 minutes, it was Michael Coulson who scored the opener, after excellent tenacity by Swanson saw the ball fall to Alston, whose low driven cross was converted with composure by the ex-York City attacker. 1-0.

Zander Clark was then tested when a string of corners concluded with Danny Mullen headed over, colliding with the goalkeeper as Clark did just enough to put the striker off.

Coulson again linked up with Alston as the Englishman’s 35-yard pass was just caught by the former Falkirk midfielder’s toe, and had the new number 4’s leg been an inch longer then he would surely have scored.

But Livi broke and when Danny Mullen was fouled by Anderson in the box, Beaton gave the penalty and Mullen stepped up to take it himself.

However, the giant frame of Zander Clark dived to his left and saved the spot kick as the blue section of supporters erupted. Still 1-0.

As half time approached, a mazy Swanson run was ended as his last touch came off a defender’s leg in the box, after running from inside his own half with the ball.

Blair Alston tangled his way through the Livi back four from the left but saw his powerful shot blocked, and as the ball was cleared, Beaton blew for half time at 1-0, after 45 minutes of football dominated by the Perth Saints. HT: 1-0.

Saints’ half time switches saw Craig Thomson, Keith Watson, Liam Craig, Graham Cummins and Murray Davidson all come on for Shaughnessy, Millar, Paton, Coulson, Kane whilst Livingston brought on two trialists for Liam Watt and Nicky Cadden.

Murray Davidson quickly stamped his authority on the match by heading into the arms of goalkeeper Darren Jamieson after 47 minutes.

Ten minutes into the second half, Cummins controlled Liam Craig’s long pass into the box before being brought down, and the provider who converted from the spot in Saints’ last competitive game against Hearts failed to emulate his heroics, blasting straight at Jamieson.

But Livi equalised with an emphatic strike from distance as Josh Mullin leathered into the bottom corner beyond Clark from all of 25 yards. 1-1.

And the West Lothian side came close to turning the match around via Danny Mullen, but Clark coolly collected the bouncing strike.

Attackers Mullen and Mullin left play after an hour for veteran Liam Buchanan and youngster Matthew Knox.

Moments later, Longridge and Sinclair were subbed off for Neill and Byrne

And Saints brought on youngster Eoghan McCawl for half time replacement Murray Davidson after a short lived spell on the pitch.

Livingston brought on Ryan Currie for Millar as Saints continued to search for a goal. Tommy Wright’s side were struggling to take advantage of their greater possession.

Saints brought on Brad McKay for Anderson with 20 minutes to go, still looking to reclaim the lead.

Cummins came close, nodding Watson’s early cross goalwards, but Jamieson matched the effort, holding comfortably.

Craig Thomson almost found an 87th minute winner after linking up well with Swanson, but the shot at the end of his weaving run beat both goalkeeper and post.

Livingston’s trialist powered through the Saints defence in injury time but put his shot wide before John Beaton blew for the last time. Full time: Livingston 1-1 St Johnstone.

St Johnstone: Clark, Shaughnessy (Watson, 45), Anderson (McKay, 70), Scobbie, Easton, Alston, Paton (Davidson, 45 (McCawl, 65)), Millar (Craig, 45), Swanson, Coulson (Thomson, 45), Kane (Cummins, 45). Unused subs: Mannus, Gordon, M Hurst.

Goals: Coulson (10)

Livingston: Jamieson, Halkett, Lithgow, Crichton, Longridge (Byrne, 63), Sinclair (Neill, 63), Miller Mullin (Buchanan, 60), Cadden (Trailist, 45), Watt (Trialist, 45), Mullen (Knox, 60). Unused subs: Trialist, Currie.

Goals: Mullin (56)

Referee: John Beaton Man of the Match: Zander Clark

Match report by Ross Gardiner.