St Johnstone 2 - 1 Hamilton: Saints 2nd after late Davidson header

St Johnstone's Murray Davidson earns his side the win. Picture: SNS/Kenny Smith
St Johnstone's Murray Davidson earns his side the win. Picture: SNS/Kenny Smith
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A Murray Davidson header just six minutes from time earned St Johnstone a victory which lifts them to second place in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Davidson was persona non grata on his last outing, being replaced at half-time and accused by Tommy Wright of letting the side down by claiming he was fit to play when ill. This time, he lasted the distance and earned his manager’s glowing praise for a match-winning header that sent St Johnstone into second in the Premiership.

It was an outcome that looked highly unlikely during a first-half largely dominated by Hamilton Accies but, with his energy restored, Davidson, inset, won his way firmly back into Wright’s good books in the perfect fashion.

Accies surged deservedly in front with Greg Docherty’s first of the season, but the tables were turned after the interval and the visitors’ misery was compounded when midfielder Darian MacKinnon saw red for a last-man foul on Paul Paton in injury-time.

By then, Steven MacLean had sparked an out-of-sorts Saints to life with the equaliser just after the interval and Davidson grabbed all three points with just six minutes remaining.

“You can’t stay angry with Murray for long!” admitted Wright. “His goal epitomises him because he’s back making a tackle in his own box a minute earlier then the next thing he’s doing is bursting into the box to score the winner.”

Graham Cummins’ doggedness had almost snatched the opener for St Johnstone just seconds before Docherty’s breakthrough but Gary Woods recovered from being beaten in the air by the striker to grab his resulting header on the line.

With the Perth side striking the bar with a MacLean shot seven minutes from the break, there were signs Accies were still fallible, despite their dominance. So it proved when MacLean, whose header had just been scooped off the line, somehow knocked the loose ball into the net from a prostrate position.

“I’m raging, I’ve had to give myself ten minutes to calm down,” said Accies manager Martin Canning after a third straight loss. “That’s not acceptable, to be as in control as we were and end up losing that game.”