St Johnstone 1-1 Inverness CT: Graham uses his head

A LATE header from substitute Brian Graham earned St Johnstone a Premiership point at home to ten-man Inverness.

St Johnstone's Brian Graham (centre) heads home the equaliser against Inverness CT. Picture: SNS Group

Scorers: St Johnstone - Graham (82’); Inverness CT - Doran (55’)

Danny Swanson hit the crossbar early on and Michael O’Halloran missed two good chances either side of half-time before Aaron Doran gave the visitors a second-half lead with an excellent finish. But Graham’s late intervention denied Inverness victory and David Raven’s late red card for a second booking meant they had to endure a nervous few minutes before leaving with a share of the spoils.

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St Johnstone came close to a spectacular opener inside the first ten minutes. David Wotherspoon played a clever corner out to Swanson 20 yards from goal and the winger unleashed a curling right-footed effort which cannoned off the bar.

Inverness came close themselves when James Vincent found Danny Williams, who fired in a powerful effort from the edge of the area which forced Alan Mannus to dive to his left and push to safety in the visitors’ best moment of the first half.

Tommy Wright’s men were almost in front within moments of the restart. O’Halloran started a period of sustained pressure with a run and cross from the right and after his team-mates struggled to get a meaningful shot away, he lashed an effort over from six yards.

St Johnstone had squandered the better opportunities and paid the price in the 55th minute when Raven made ground down the right and his cross found its way to an onrushing Doran at the edge of the area. The Irishman showed impressive technique to guide his finish in off the underside of the bar.

Just as it looked like John Hughes’ men would secure victory, Saints deservedly equalised with eight minutes left. Wotherspoon played in Tam Scobbie down the left and the full-back’s pinpoint cross found Graham, who powered a thumping header into the top corner for his ninth league goal of the season.

With five minutes to go, Inverness were down to ten men. Raven had already been booked for dissent in the first half and was given his marching orders after a foul on Swanson earned him a second yellow, but the visitors avoided any further damage.

St Johnstone: N Mannus, Mackay, Anderson, Scobbie, Miller, Swanson, Davidson (Graham 76), Millar, O’Halloran, Wotherspoon, MacLean (McFadden 73). Subs not used: Lappin, Wright, Banks, Caddis, Kane.

Inverness CT: Esson, Raven, Warren, Meekings, Shinnie, Doran (Devine 76), Vincent, Tansey, Williams, Ofere, Watkins. Subs not used: Ross, Tremarco, Polworth, Christie, Kink, Mackay.

Referee: Andrew Dallas. Attendance: 2,986.