Hughes starts reign with draw

John Hughes first game as Inverness boss ended in stalemate as the Highlanders were held to a 0-0 draw by St Mirren in Paisley.

The Buddies enjoyed the better chances in the first half but the closest they came was when Steven Thompson – making his 100th appearance for the club he supported as a boy – struck Dean Brill’s upright after 25 minutes.

Hughes must have given a rousing speech at the break because his team came out in much better shape after the interval.

Caley Thistle also hit the woodwork when Marley Watkins headed against a post with 20 minutes left but Saints survived on that occasion to extend their unbeaten streak to five games, ensuring they stay just a point behind Hibernian in seventh place in the Scottish Premiership table on 16 points.

Dundee United’s recent run of fine form continued as they proved too strong for Hearts to move into third place in the Scottish Premiership thanks to a convincing 4-1 win at Tannadice.

Jackie McNamara’s side’s have become the form team in the country in recent weeks and carried that on despite the visitors equalising in the first half through Jamie Hamill’s penalty after Brian Graham had given the hosts an early lead.

Graham netted his second goal of the afternoon with a header early in the second half before late goals from Gary Mackay-Steven and John Rankin rounded things off in the closing stages.

It was harsh on Hearts, who had battled hard – but United look capable of giving anyone a game on this kind of form.

St Johnstone welcomed Sir Alex Ferguson back to the club but saw two other former employees steal the show as Aberdeen won 2-0 at McDiarmid Park.

Ferguson was at the game to mark the 50th anniversary of his hat-trick in a 3-2 victory for St Johnstone over Rangers at Ibrox, but it was the club he is more famously associated with that were celebrating as former Saints manager Derek McInnes tasted victory in his first competitive return to McDiarmid Park.

And it was Peter Pawlett, who spent the first half of last season on loan at the Perth club, who did the damage with an excellent long-range strike in the 17th minute.

Another player facing his old club, St Johnstone substitute Rory Fallon, made a similarly dramatic but less positive impact after being sent off for an elbow on Michael Hector two minutes after coming on.

That put the game well beyond St Johnstone and Niall McGinn further stretched Aberdeen’s lead with a stunning strike five minutes from time.

The visitors defended solidly to restrict Stevie May and Nigel Hasselbaink, who had scored 12 goals between them in the previous 10 games, to just one real chance, and they controlled the second half to move five points ahead of St Johnstone in the top six.

James Collins struck a dramatic late equaliser to rescue a 1-1 draw for Terry Butcher against Partick in his first home match in charge of Hibernian.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international, who has endured a frustrating spell with the Hibees since arriving from Swindon in close season, lashed home from close range to secure a 1-1 draw and break the hearts of the resolute visitors.

Kris Boyd hit the winner for Kilmarnock as the Ayrshire side picked up their first league away win of the season by beating Ross County 2-1.

With both teams toiling towards the bottom of the table, the three points lifted Kilmarnock above hosts Ross County. Chris Johnston and Boyd netted to counter a reply from Stuart Kettlewell.