Buddies and Saints in stalemate
St Mirren manager Danny Lennon had urged his players to play with freedom and put on a show for their supporters after securing their SPL status on Tuesday with a 1-0 victory over Aberdeen. St Johnstone manager Derek McInnes handed his club a huge boost on Wednesday when he rejected a move to Brentford, and his team came into the game on the back of three consecutive wins. But the fans who came to St Mirren Park hoping for a final flourish were instead subjected to an archetypal end-of-season encounter with a dearth of meaningful goalmouth action. The best that could be said about the game was that Buddies captain John Potter helped his defence keep a clean sheet in his 251st and final appearance for the club. Potter was the only player to start of the 11 who were told by Lennon on Friday that their contracts would not be renewed, although another, Craig Dargo, came off the bench. Another, Gareth Wardlaw, had scored the goal at Pittodrie that removed any doubt about St Mirren's survival but he was absent as goalkeeper Craig Samson, Aaron Mooy, Kenny McLean and Marc McAusland all came into the starting line-up. McInnes named a forward-thinking line-up with Stevie May coming in for Alan Maybury, but the team selection did not transmit to an attacking display. While there was no shortage of effort, both teams lacked a creative spark. The home side defended deep whenever their visitors had possession to snuff out any attacking threat in the first half. McLean headed wide and shot well over following separate breaks, and Higdon got the first effort on target with a minute of the half remaining, but his weak header bounced harmlessly into the arms of Peter Enckelman. Danny Grainger replaced May at half-time for his final game for St Johnstone, who got their first effort on target in the 55th minute when Samson held Dave Mackay's 25-yard free-kick. Jamie Adams and Lee Mair headed over following corners at either end, although neither opportunity was a serious chance. Home midfielder Steven Thomson saw a 20-yard strike deflected wide before Dargo was handed the final 25 minutes of action of his Buddies career, coming on for McLean to a warm reception. St Johnstone striker Peter MacDonald soon departed for Stevie Reynolds, having captained the team, and Collin Samuel then replaced Adams. A clumsy aerial challenge from Steven Anderson on Higdon allowed the Englishman the opportunity to shoot from 25 yards, but his free-kick summed up the afternoon - it was caught by a supporter in the back row of the home stand behind the goal. The hosts had the better of the closing quarter but could not carve out a clear chance and Liam Craig headed over on a rare St Johnstone break. Potter was given a standing ovation after being taken off in the 87th minute while the visiting fans spent the last few minutes singing the praises of defender Michael Duberry, one of several St Johnstone players whose future remains unclear. Another, MacDonald, handed his shirt to a young St Johnstone fan following the final whistle.