St Mirren 1-0 Heart of Midlothian
Wednesday 11th March 2020, KO 19:45 | Ladbrokes Premiership | St Mirren Park
Hearts fell to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of St Mirren at the Simple Digital Arena on Wednesday night.
An early second half goal from Jon Obika proved to be the difference between the sides in a game of few chances.
Daniel Stendel opted for the same starting XI that faced Motherwell four days earlier, and had come from behind to secure a point at Tynecastle.
The home side started the game on the front foot and winger Alex Jakubiak was a handful. He spun Hickey on the touch line and whipped the ball in towards Ilkay Durmus, who teed the ball back to Sam Foley but the midfielder blasted over.
On the other wing, Durmus dinked a ball to the back post and it threatened to drop into the net, but Bobby Zlamal tipped the ball over the bar.
At the other end, Hearts had their first spell of sustained attack in the match just before the half hour mark.
Hickey played a give and go with Steven Naismith and made space for himself before shooting from distance, but Vaclav Hladky saved comfortably. A minute later, Michael Smith chipped a ball to the front post but Sean Clare could only head over the bar.
Just before the break, St Mirren had the best chance of the game. Jakubiak whipped a ball into the box that evaded the entire Hearts defence and Cammy MacPherson rammed a shot at goal but Zlamal produced a stunning save to keep it level.
Three minutes after the interval, however, St Mirren did take the lead. Obika latched onto a long ball forward from Ross Wallace, evading both Craig Halkett and Clevid Dikamona, and the striker prodded past Zlamal and into the back of the net.
Jakubiak soon got in behind again, but Zlamal got down well to save the ball as the hosts looked content to counter on the break. A raft of changes from both sides followed as the game got scrappy and lost any rhythm.
With ten minutes to go, Hearts thought they had an opening when Smith got to the byline and cut the ball back to Conor Washington. His shot was blocked and the rebound fell to Lewis Moore but the ball bounced off him and went out.
Hearts then had a huge shout for a penalty as they upped the pressure. Ryo Meshino curled a cross in and Dikamona was hauled to the ground but the referee waved play on.
The game then entered six minutes of stoppage time which gave the Hearts supporters a lift, but there was to be no late drama as the Jambos lost out.
St Mirren: Hladky, Hodson, Waters, McCarthy (McGrath, 30'), Obika, Durmus (McAllister, 69'), Foley, Famewo, MacPherson (Andreu, 55'), Jakubiak, Wallace. Subs: Lyness, Mullen, Morias, Chabbi.
Hearts: Zlamal, Smith, Bozanic (Irving, 60'), Clare (Boyce, 46'), Washington, Naismith, Damour (Meshino, 73'), Halkett, Moore, Dikamona, Hickey. Subs: Pereira, Walker, Langer, Henderson.
Referee: Gavin Duncan