First team

Match Report: St Johnstone 0-1 Hearts

07 February 2024

Lawrence Shankland hit a half-century of goals for Hearts as the Jambos saw off St. Johnstone 1-0 in Perth.


The men in maroon extended their unbeaten run to ten games, along with a sixth away win in a row, to remain 12 points clear of fourth placed Kilmarnock following Shankland’s 55th minute strike.


Steven Naismith made three changes to the side that secured a thrilling comeback win in Dundee the previous weekend with Stephen Kingsley returning from illness whilst Scott Fraser made his maiden start in a maroon jersey.


Hearts enjoyed the lion’s share of possession as the opening stages of the game unfurled in Perth, with both Alex Cochrane and Alan Forrest working the flanks as they sent probing crosses into the St. Johnstone area.


A stubborn backline for the hosts, marshalled by the experienced heads of Considine and McGowan, restricted Hearts and kept chances at a premium during a largely dour and well-contested first half.


Dexter Lembikisa sent a terrific cross into the Saints box as the game approached half-time, but Kenneth Vargas couldn’t quite steer his header on target as the Jambos went in at the break keen to break the deadlock.



HT: St Johnstone 0-0 Hearts


Former Jambo Connor Smith registered the first chance of the second 45 at McDiarmid, scooping up a lay-off on the edge of the Hearts area before spinning and curling an effort at Zander Clark from distance which went into the stopper’s gloves.


Hearts maintained the pressure in the hunt for the opener, with both Alan Forrest and Alex Cochrane going near before Steven Naismith’s men claimed the lead.


The deadlock was broken on 55 minutes as Lawrence Shankland cut through a sea of blue shirts before dispatching a low drive beyond Mitov and into the net. It was a remarkable 50th goal in maroon for the skipper – who becomes the ninth fastest player in the club’s history to reach a half-century of goals.


Hearts started to find their groove in attack, with sumptuous balls from Calem Nieuwenhof and Alan Forrest setting Kenneth Vargas scarpering into the Saints box on two occasions – first sending one wide before being denied by the offside flag for the second.




Saints had a golden chance to equalise ten minutes from time when Nicky Clark sent a bullet header towards goal from a corner, with only a heroic goal line clearance from Shankland keeping the ball away from danger.


The Jambos held on to secure the points, with all eyes turning towards Airdrieonians in the Scottish Cup this weekend.


St. Johnstone: Mitov, Gallacher (Sibideh 64’), Considine, McGowan, Carey, Kucheriavyi, Olufunwa, Robinson, Kimpioka (Clark 64’), Franczak (Sprangler 45’), Smith


Subs: Richards, May, Kane, Clark, Jaiyesimi, Sidibeh, Sprangler, Smith


Hearts: Clark, Kent, Kingsley (Halkett 74’), Baningime, Nieuwenhof, Shankland, Forrest, Cochrane, Fraser (Oda 82’), Vargas (Grant 82’), Lembikisa


Subs: Gordon, Halkett, Grant, Oda, Devlin, Sibbick, Denholm, Tait, Tagawa


Attendance: 4518