St Johnstone 0 - 0 St Mirren: Stalemate in Perth does little to ease relegation fears

Neither St Johnstone or St Mirren could conjure up a goal to provide Festive cheer for their supporters in a game of few chances at McDiarmid Park.

St Mirrens Jon Obika is challenged by Jason Kerr.

The rival Saints remain locked together in the Ladbrokes Premiership table, with the Paisley side retaining ninth spot on goal difference.

Ironically, the teams have leaked 60 goals between them this term.

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But resolute defences blunted the threat posed by opposition attacks, with the Perth Saints clocking-up a third successive clean sheet.

It started brightly when home attacker Michael O'Halloran forced goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky to beat out his low angled shot inside the first minute.

At the other end Ilkay Durmus sent in a probing ninth minute cross and defender Jason Kerr took a knock to the face clearing the danger.

Vociferous Buddies fans, who had turned out in force for the game, were less than pleased when referee John Beaton awarded a corner only to change his mind and signal a free-kick for a high boot.

A miscued square pass from St Johnstone skipper Kerr gift-wrapped a 17th-minute chance for Jon Obika.

The striker teased marker Liam Gordon before unleashing a powerful 20-yard strike but keeper Zander Clark did well to beat it out.

Minutes later Kennedy was looking for a penalty when he was bundled over by Paul McGinn but he was out of luck.

In the 27th minute, O'Halloran evaded the offside trap to latch onto a Callum Hendry flick but crucially advancing keeper Hladky won their head-to-head duel.

Within seconds Cammy MacPherson was leading a counter attack but the Paisley midfielder failed to take advantage of numerical superiority and the opportunity was frittered away.

Seconds after the break, St Johnstone full-back Callum Booth let loose from distance but his spectacular effort dipped wide of the target.

Near the hour mark, back-to-back fouls on Junior Morais by St Johnstone pair Davidson and Anthony Ralston warranted cautions from referee Beaton.

Obika sensed an opportunity at the back post in the 66th minute but Kerr outmuscled the centre and he could not connect.

With the Buddies looking the more dangerous side late in the contest, midfielder Sam Foley tested keeper Clark from fully 25 yards and frustrated defender Sean McLoughlin could only find the side netting after getting on the end of a teasing Durmus free-kick, conceded by Booth at the expense of a yellow card.