First team

Match Preview: St Johnstone (A)

04 August 2023

Football is back and Hearts travel to Perth for their first cinch Premiership match of the 2023/2024 campaign.




As is often the case with early season matches, it’s very difficult to know what to expect.


St Johnstone endured a nightmare League Cup campaign as defeats to Stenhousemuir, Ayr United and Stirling Albion saw the Saints fail to progress from Group A.


The men in maroon came out victorious in all three meetings with the Perth Saints last season. A 3-0 win at Tynecastle followed a pair of 3-2 victories before the turn of the year.


Ones to watch:


There will be a familiar face in the Saints dugout on Saturday as former Hearts forward Steven McLean embarks on his first full season at the helm having been appointed as interim manager towards the end of last season.


St Johnstone haven’t been the most pro-active club in the transfer window and after a summer clear-out, there is expected to be plenty of youth in Saturday’s matchday squad.


Much like last season, the main threat is likely to still be Stevie May. The 30-year-old was the Saints top scorer in the league last term and will be looking to deliver more of the same in front of goal.


At the other end of the pitch, another familiar face, as Ryan McGowan begins another season at McDiarmid Park after arriving in Perth last summer.


New signing, Luke Jephcott is likely to partner May up top and there may be a new face in the Saints goal after Dimitar Mitov arrived from Cambridge United and made his debut in the League Cup.


Team news:


Kyosuke Tagawa could be in line for a Hearts debut, provided his international clearance is confirmed in time.  


Frankie’s thoughts:


"Going to McDiarmid Park is always a tough trip – for any team. We’re going up against a side that’s hungry to do well. As are we, and we’ll be hoping to come out on top.