St Johnstone 1-1 Ross County

David Wotherspoon rifles home the opener for St Johnstone

David Wotherspoon’s goal put Saints ahead after 10 minutes

Scottish League Cup winners Ross County rallied to claim a point in Perth and remain level with St Johnstone in the race for a European qualifying spot.

David Wotherspoon rifled home a volley into the roof of the net from a tight angle to give Saints an early lead.

Brian Graham, Michael Gardyne and David Goodwillie all spurned first-half chances for the Highland outfit.

But when substitute Liam Boyce was brought down in the box after 64 minutes, Graham’s penalty levelled it.

The two sides, level on points and goal difference at the outset, remain in joint fourth place in the Premiership.

Saints manager Tommy Wright was missing from the home dug-out because of a stomach bug, with assistant Callum Davidson taking charge in his absence.

County, with three changes from their Hampden triumph, were desperate to maintain their fine form and underlined their determination with a lovely move engineered by Jackson Irvine which climaxed with Graham shooting across goal but beyond the far post.

But that woke Saints up and they took the lead in the 11th minute.

Swanson drove powerfully deep into the County half, before Joe Shaughnessy curled in a cross which Wotherspoon, off balance, volleyed home from six yards.

It was an early blow but it clearly affected the Highlanders after an emotional few days since securing their first piece of major silverware by beating Hibs in the League Cup final.


Graham’s second-half penalty was deserved rewards for County’s efforts

They spent the rest of the first half toiling to get themselves back into it but Graham, when set up by Irvine; Gardyne ,with a right-footed shot coming in off the left flank; and Goodwillie, with a weak shot straight at Alan Mannus, couldn’t fashion a breakthrough.

St Johnstone upped the pressure in the second half and County keeper Gary Woods was a busy man, producing a couple of special saves, in particular a block from Chris Kane.

Woods’ defiance lifted his team-mates and County got their equaliser in the 66th minute.

Boyce was brought down just inside the box by Steven Anderson – on the day he matched Saints’ club appearance record of 361 set by Alan Main – and Graham confidently dispatched the resulting penalty.

The loss of that goal will hardly be what the doctor ordered for the ailing Wright but the quality of the game in any case would not have lifted the spirits of a crowd of just 2,501.

Martin Woods might have won it for the visitors late on when put through by Hampden match-winner Alex Schalk, but tugged his shot wide.

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