Match Reports

St Johnstone 3-3 Hearts

18th January 2014

Frantic end to game at McDiarmid Park as Jambos earn a share of the spoils against St Johnstone.

St Johnstone 3-3 Heart of Midlothian
(May 38', 49' & 62- Carrick 59', Nicholson 87', Wilson 90')
From Hearts Media at McDiarmid Park.

An extraordinary game at McDiarmid Park saw Hearts draw 3-3 with St Johnstone.

Stevie May scored a hattrick in a match that featured three red cards, while Dale Carrick, Sam Nicholson and Danny Wilson were the goal heroes for Gary Locke's men.

The Jambos' starting XI was much the same side that ran Motherwell close at Tynecastle a week previous. Danny Wilson returned from injury to anchor the defence in place of Jordan McGhee, while Callum Tapping replaced the suspended Scott Robinson.

Hearts started the match brightly with Dale Carrick and Ryan Stevenson combining to threaten Alan Mannus' goal after only two minutes, but Stevo's curling effort from 20 yards was easily held by the Saints 'keeper.

The home side went close four minutes later when Stevie May's low cross into the box was met by Murray Davidson, but  Jamie MacDonald was alert enough to stop the midfielder's cute backheel.

The Jambos were handed a massive boost in the 20th minute when Saints defender Steven Anderson was shown a straight red card. Gary McDonald's loose passback was collected by Dale Carrick but he was bundled over by Anderson as he charged through on goal, which left referee Brian Colvin no option but to send the St Johnstone man packing.

Long range efforts were in abundance as Stevenson, Carrick and David Smith all tried their luck during the first half, however none troubled Mannus too much.

Disaster struck with seven minutes remaining of the first half when St Johsntone were awarded a penalty. Kevin McHattie was judged to have pulled back Nigel Hasselbaink inside the box, and Stevie May duly slotted past MacDonald from the spot. 

The second half didn't start much better for the men in maroon as May doubled the home side's lead only four minutes in. He found himself one-on-one with MacDonald and although the Hearts no.1 pulled off a smart save, May's momentum carried him into Jamma which sent the ball sprawling, leaving May to stab home from inside the six yard box.

Not be outdone though, Hearts got themselves back into the game with half an hour remaining. A McHattie delivery was nodded into the corner of the net by the unmarked Carrick, who celebrated his first ever senior strike for the club.

The joy was shortlived, however, as three minutes later McHattie was penalised for handball in the box which gave Saints their second penalty of the game. May stepped up and fired beyond MacDonald for his, and Saints', third goal of the game.

Heads didn't drop and Hearts kept battling away. Brad McKay's thunderbolt 35 yard strike stung Mannus' hands on 75 minutes, and he was able to gather before Sam Nicholson could make contact with the rebound.

Nicholson then went close following a neat one-two with Gary Oliver inside the Saints box, but his curling effort was beaten away by Mannus.

By this point, maroon shirts were lining up to take shots at goal. Carrick turned and hit a sublime shot from the edge of the box but again Mannus denied the the Jambos a goal.

What followed was an absolute chaotic end to the game. First, Nicholson pulled a goal back after a goalmouth scramble. The referee then showed red cards to Stevenson and Mannus after punches appeared to be thrown.

With outfield player Paddy Cregg in goals, Hearts piled forward in search of an equaliser. Callum Paterson rattled the crossbar with a header, then captain Danny Wilson rescued a point with a header of his own which sailed into the back of the net.

A frantic end to an entertaining game with Hearts well worth a share of the spoils. 

St Johnstone: Mannus, Mackay, Scobbie, Wright, Anderson, Millar, McDonald, Hasselbaink (Cregg, 70'), May, Davidson (Wotherspoon, 35'), Croft (Miller, 23'). Subs: Banks, Brown, O'Halloran, Easton. 

Hearts: MacDonald; McGowan (Nicholson, 46'), McKay, Wilson, McHattie; Paterson, Hamill, Tapping (Oliver, 69'), Smith (B. King, 78'); Carrick, Stevenson. Subs: Hamilton, McGhee, A. King, Beith.

Referee: Brian Colvin

Top man: Dale Carrick