Match Report: HMFC 3-0 SJFC03 April 2023
Robbie Neilson made three changes to the side that faced Motherwell a fortnight ago. Kye Rowles returned to the side after a short spell on the sidelines, alongside Josh Ginnelly, who returned from suspension. Jorge Grant was also given the nod from the start, as Cammy Devlin, Stephen Humphrys, and Toby Sibbick dropped out.
The visitors had the first shot on goal after eight minutes when Stevie May tried his luck from distance, but Zander Clark got down low to beat his effort away to safety.
Hearts almost went ahead seven minutes later after some intricate play on the edge of the Saints box. Robert Snodgrass picked out Lawrence Shankland, who flicked the ball over the top for the onrushing Michael Smith, but his volley was well saved by Remi Matthews.
The Jambos went ahead in fortuitous fashion five minutes later. After a bit of a scramble on the edge of the Saints box, Grant worked the ball out to Josh Ginnelly, who cut in off the right flank, and his low effort was deflected into the bottom corner past the helpless Matthews.
The men in maroon almost doubled their lead on 28 minutes when Shankland let fly and his stinging effort was tipped over by Matthews.
Up the other end, Saints had created some openings of their own and a dangerous cross from the right saw Drey Wright force Clark into a brilliant point-blank stop.
Clark was again called into action three minutes before the break when Cammy MacPherson tried his luck from distance, but a fingertip save from Clark kept the Jambos ahead at the break.
Half time: Hearts 1-0 St Johnstone
Tynecastle had been a bit on edge for the first 45 minutes, but Josh Ginnelly soon settled the nerves just after the hour mark. Alex Cochrane played a lovely through ball to find Barrie McKay and his low cross evaded Shankland at the front post, but Ginnelly was waiting at the back to grab his second of the afternoon.
The points were secured seventeen minutes from time when Jorge Grant found the bottom corner with what appeared to be an in-swinging cross that deceived Matthews.
By this point, the Jambos were on easy street and Ginnelly almost grabbed his hat-trick after being slipped in by Shankland, but he prodded his effort just wide.
St Johnstone still looked dangerous when they ventured forward, and Stephen Kingsley was well positioned to clear Saints’ substitute Zak Rudden’s effort off the line to preserve Hearts’ clean sheet in the final minute of normal time.
Hearts almost added a fourth in stoppage time as substitute Garang Kuol’s clipped effort came back off the crossbar before Matthews denied Jorge Grant on the rebound in the game’s final action.
Hearts: Clark, Smith (Forrest, 86), Kingsley, Grant, Shankland ©, Rowles, McKay (Devlin, 78), Cochrane (Kio, 70), Ginnelly (Kuol, 78), Hill, Snodgrass (Halliday, 70)
Subs: Stewart, Kio, Atkinson, Devlin, Halliday, Forrest, Sibbick, Kuol, Oda
St Johnstone: Matthews, Brown, Mitchell, Gordon ©, May (Bair, 75), Wright, MacPherson, Montgomery (Gallacher, 87), Hallberg (Wotherspoon, 75), Carey (Murphy, 76), McLennan (Rudden, 71)
Subs: Sinclair, Gallacher, Wotherspoon, Rudden, Bair, Ballantyne, Murphy, Parker