St Johnstone 0-0 Hamilton: O’Halloran rested for stalemate

David Wotherspoon holds off Hamilton's Lucas Tagliapietra. Picture: SNS Group

David Wotherspoon holds off Hamilton's Lucas Tagliapietra. Picture: SNS Group

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ST JOHNSTONE and Hamilton drew a blank in their Ladbrokes Premiership match at McDiarmid Park.

Tommy Wright’s men have now gone five games without a goal, while Accies restored pride after the William Hill Scottish Cup exit to Annan - although they have now won just once in 14 games following this 0-0 stalemate.

Hamilton's Brazilian defender Lucas Tagliapietra was feeling the cold in Perth. Picture: SNS Group

Hamilton's Brazilian defender Lucas Tagliapietra was feeling the cold in Perth. Picture: SNS Group

The Perth pitch was deemed playable after a morning inspection - but Michael O’Halloran did not feature in manager Tommy Wright’s squad, prompting speculation that the 25-year-old attacker was bound for Ibrox.

There were recalls for recent casualties Graham Cummins and Simon Lappin, while Craig Thomson was handed his first start, replacing O’Halloran on the flank.

Canning resisted the temptation to pull on the boots after leaking 19 goals in the previous six games and his three-man central defence stood firm, although Ziggy Gordon rode his luck in the closing minutes when he appeared to handle Thomson’s cross in the heart of the penalty area.

A flurry of early Saints corners saw Steven MacLean glance a near post header over the target and in the 11th minute a chested clearance by home skipper Dave Mackay was misdirected into the path of Alex D’Acol - but the striker could not take advantage.

Cummins was teed up in the 19th minute by a Steven MacLean pass and a Murray Davidson dummy - but the Irishman’s shot was weak and held easily by Accies goalkeeper Michael McGovern.

Two minutes from the break McGovern’s Northern Ireland colleague Alan Mannus dived to clutch Greg Docherty’s drilled 20-yard effort.

Accies defender Tagliapietra’s serial fouling prompted a caution two minutes after the restart from referee Andrew Dallas.

Ali Crawford’s probing 54th minute pass was neatly controlled by Gramoz Kurtaj in a promising position but the attacker’s 16-yard strike was weak and easily clutched by Mannus.

Thomson came close with a 67th minute shot which dipped over the bar before Accies sensed an opening minutes later when Kurtaj cut inside but saw his shot deflected wide by team-mate Docherty.

Hamilton substitute Grant Gillespie was booked within two minutes of coming on and fellow replacement Carlton Morris squandered a late chance to snatch victory with a close range header which cleared the crossbar.

And the final noteworthy action in a match watched by 2,685 saw St Johnstone sub John Sutton - an 83rd minute replacement for MacLean - fail to net with a free header from David Wotherspoon’s corner.

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