St Johnstone 0 - 1 Morecambe: Shadow squad edged out

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After the clamour generated by Thursday’s landmark 2-1 Europa League aggregate victory over Norwegian championship front runners Rosenborg, three of McDiarmid Park’s stands weren’t even opened for a low-key friendly enticing just 871 supporters.

Saints manager Tommy Wright opted for a safety-first strategy in advance of the looming trip to Belarus, with none of the starters from midweek being asked to face League Two Morecambe.

But tucked in among squad men and teenagers, 25-year-old midfielder Murray Davidson made a second debut for Saints, having penned a 12-month contract after his hopes of a summer move to the English Championship came to nought.

The Scotland international will be on the flight to Belarus after beating the UEFA signing deadline and being given an hour to stretch his legs.

Another familiar face, operating under the trialist banner, was former Rangers and Aberdeen player Barry Nicholson, who has been training with the Perth squad after leaving 
Fleetwood Town.

The kick-off was delayed for 15 minutes because the Shrimps’ team bus suffered a blow-out en route to Perth. The visitors should have been further deflated in the 11th minute when Davidson released Rory Fallon, only for the former Aberdeen striker to allow goalkeeper Barry Roche to save at his feet, with no sign of an offside flag to spare his blushes.

Then the roving Nicholson tested the keeper with an angled strike.

But the Shrimps netted in a 33rd minute attack when Marcus Marshall raced clear and tucked a precise shot past young keeper Zander Clark via an upright.

After the re-start Davidson had a free header from a Nicholson corner, but couldn’t get it on target. Nicholson was then thwarted by ’keeper Roche after lashing another fierce shot goalwards.

Teenager Dylan Easton, a recent arrival from Berwick Rangers, showed neat footwork but pulled his shot wide after carving open the Shrimps’ defence.

Then, in the 68th minute, Gwion Edwards, a winger on loan from Swansea, used his pace to cut inside but blasted a shot wide minutes before being replaced with the Belarus trip in mind.

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