Hearts were held to a draw this evening by St Johnstone despite a dominant performance.
The Jambos remain unbeaten after the first round of fixtures in the cinch Premiership following the match at McDiarmid Park thanks to Josh Ginnelly’s first half equaliser.
Robbie Neilson made three changes to the side that drew with Dundee at the weekend. There were starts for Armand Gnanduillet, Andy Halliday and Ginnelly, with Liam Boyce missing out through injury and, Alex Cochrane and Ben Woodburn dropping out.
The Jambos got off to a poor start on ten minutes when a corner was whipped in from the left side, and the ball somehow bounced all the way through to Liam Gordon who tapped in at the back post.
The hosts nearly doubled their lead when Stevie May closed down Craig Gordon and the ball rebounded to Chris Kane, whose volley was saved.
Hearts levelled just after the half hour with a swift counter attack. Beni Baningime won the ball in midfield and slipped a pass through for Ginnelly who sped away from his marker and smashed a left-footed shot home.
Hearts almost took the lead just on half time. Halliday’s out-swinging corner was met by Gnanduillet at the front post and his header was superbly saved by Zander Clark.
Gnanduillet was in the thick of things after the break too. Cammy Devlin won the ball in typically tenacious style deep in the St Johnstone half, and played it through for the big striker who drew a fine stop from Clark again.
John Souttar clearly had a taste for action after his superb goal at the weekend, carrying the ball from deep in his own half and shooting from range, the shot whistling just over the bar.
With twenty minutes to go, Barrie McKay did superbly on the right and pinged the ball into the area for Ginnelly, but his scissor kick was parried away by Clark back out to Souttar who shot just wide.
Woodburn then entered the fray and was immediately involved, breaking at speed and playing in Gnanduillet but he shot just wide. Woodburn himself then fired past the post moments later.
Despite introducing Gary Mackay-Steven late on, Hearts couldn’t find the winner they sorely deserved and were forced to settle for a point.
St Johnstone: Clark, Booth, Gordon, McCart, Davidson, MacPherson, Crawford, May (Middleton, 81'), Kane. Subs: Parish, Ambrose (Dendoncker, 46'), Devine (Brown, 46'), Craig, Bryson, Vertainen.
Hearts: Gordon, Smith, Kingsley, Souttar, Baningime, Devlin, Halliday, McKay (Mackay-Steven, 89'), Halkett, Gnanduillet, Ginnelly (Woodburn, 75'). Subs: Stewart, Haring, Walker, Moore, Cochrane.
Referee: Steven McLean