St Johnstone 0 - Blackpool 1: McAllister on song

Jim McAllister is on trial at Blackpool. Picture: SNS Group
Jim McAllister is on trial at Blackpool. Picture: SNS Group
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IT was pandemonium in Perth but the Hue and Cry was down to the Rewind Festival rolling out in the stately grounds of Scone Palace.

With only a week until the opening league fixture away to Hearts, committed Saints supporters in a 1,305 crowd taking in the final low-key friendly were surprised to see Frazer Wright and David Wotherspoon in manager Tommy Wright’s line-up.

Both players seized the opportunity to prove their injury woes were behind them and staked claims to face the Championship title winners next weekend.

But for all their possession and territorial dominance, there was a familiar lack of cutting edge to the Perth performance.

Blackpool manager Neil McDonald seized another opportunity to assess former Dundee midfielder Jim McAlister, and the player enhanced his prospects of a fresh start south of the border with a strike four minutes from the interval.

It was a welcome diversion for a few dozen Seasiders fans 
taking in the final leg of a Highland tour, still awaiting news of a £16 million fans’ buy-out being weighed-up by the controversial Oyston family.

With defender Wright floored by a penalty box collision, McAlister persevered and calmly scooped a close-range finish beyond goalkeeper Alan Mannus to find the top right-hand corner of the net from six yards.

It was a shock for a superior but toothless Perth side, who had come close in their first attack, when Michael O’Halloran almost rolled in a cross for the returning Liam Craig to tuck away.

Craig again came close minutes after half-time but his poked 16-yard attempted veered wide.

It required a decent save from keeper Mannus to prevent striker Mark Cullen doubling the Seasiders’ advantage as Saints were caught out by a counter attack sparked by McAlister.

In the closing stages, goalkeeper Colin Doyle kept Saints at bay with fine saves to thwart Steven MacLean and twice blunting the threat posed by supporting midfielder Craig.