Jambos pile more misery on Saints

The home team had conceded 10 goals in losing their three previous

Scottish Premier League games, but looked more resolute against

Hearts. They could not hold out for even a point however as the

visitors followed up on their midweek success over Celtic with

Kevin Kyle’s 65th-minute penalty and Ryan Stevenson’s late

clincher. The Perth club were without defender Dave Mackay with a

thigh problem. Jamie Adams was recalled from a loan period at

Dundee yesterday and he secured clearance from league officials to

start for Saints. Hearts were without Suso Santana, who learned

this week he requires knee surgery. Kyle required early touchline

treatment on a cut nose after an apparent collision with Michael

Duberry, but the Hearts forward was able to continue after a short

delay. Kyle did force the first save of the contest, though it was

an easy one for Peter Enckelman, as the striker was unable to put

enough power onto his headed effort from Ian Black’s cross. Collin

Samuel claimed a foul against Adrian Mrowiec as he tried to reach a

ball over the top, but despite the Hearts defender seemingly

pulling him back and denying a potential goalscoring opportunity,

nothing was given by referee Mike Tumilty. Samuel had nobody to

blame but himself moments later as he swung wildly at a shooting

chance set up by Duberry’s muscular play inside the area, firing

the ball badly wide. Hearts were the more enterprising side early

on and Stephen Elliott should have done better with an angled drive

blazed over the crossbar with an unmarked Kyle wanting a pass in

the middle. St Johnstone were presented with a real chance in the

28th minute when Duberry’s ball was only half-cleared by Ruben

Palazuelos with his goalkeeper Marian Kello drawn out of position

behind him, but Liam Craig volleyed wide of the empty net. David

Templeton, so impressive in recent weeks, was at it again here,

drifting beyond three St Johnstone players before producing a

strike that full-back Alan Maybury did well to block. Eggert

Jonsson’s fine run and cross set up midfielder Rudi Skacel in the

43rd minute but his low effort was well held by Enckelman to

preserve the deadlock. St Johnstone made a change at the break,

Peter MacDonald on for Craig, and he headed wide a Cleveland Taylor

cross. Jody Morris got the game’s first booking for dissent in

protest at Adams being penalised for fouling Black. Hearts were

then awarded a 64th-minute penalty for handball, seemingly against

Adams, from a Templeton free-kick and went ahead via Kyle’s

emphatic finish. Hearts almost doubled their lead in the 68th

minute when Skacel set up Elliott for a fierce strike which was

pushed wide by Enckelman. St Johnstone introduced Sam Parkin for

Samuel and he was soon involved, forcing a fine save from Kello

after MacDonald’s pass. St Johnstone kept battling to rescue at

least a point, but it was Hearts who came closest late on with a

Kyle header wide. And in the final minute of injury time, Elliott’s

searching pass found substitute Stevenson, who finished well with a

low drive.