St Johnstone-Dundee United reaction: Goodwin's crowd faux pas, red card verdict, MacLean job prospects
Crowd faux pas
There was a good crowd inside McDiarmid Park on Saturday helped by a large and noisy travelling support from Dundee United, who snapped up all 2,700 available away tickets in less than an hour last week. That prompted the Tannadice club to submit a request for more tickets, which was turned down by St Johnstone, as is their perogative. United manager Jim Goodwin, in praising the backing of his own fanbase, perhaps unintentionally irked the Saints support by suggesting that his side would have "just as many fans as St Johnstone, if not more" inside the Perth stadium as he responded to the refusal to increase the away allocation. It prompted a tweet from the St Johnstone Analysis Twitter account (@StAnalysis) which read: "Get yourself a ticket, help prove him [very] wrong, and enjoy the shadenfreude when we win..". It seems the United boss was guilty of underestimating the home support as the total attendance of 7,071 would suggest that 4,371 were St Johnstone fans.
MacLean job prospects
Four points from six represents a good start to life under interim boss Steven MacLean for a St Johnstone side who had been in freefall before his appointment. After steadying the ship with a draw against Hibs, the win over United has helped ease the relegation fears that were building around McDiarmid Park. While both those matches saw St Johnstone play the majority of the second halves against 10 men, there were enough encouraging signs to suggest that MacLean is making a positive impact – 31 shots on goal across both matches showing a significant improvement in attacking threat. Just as Stuart Kettlewell and Barry Robson have done at Motherwell and Aberdeen respectively, MacLean is putting himself in contention to be given the job on a full-time basis. If he can follow up this good start with more positive results and performances in the four remaining matches, and keep St Johnstone up, then it would be no surprise if the former striker was still in charge when the 2023-24 season kicks off.
Red card verdict
There was some debate afterwards over whether referee Alan Muir had made the right call in showing Charlie Mulgrew a red card for a last man foul on Melker Hallberg. The verdict among most in the press box was that the decision was understandable given Hallberg would have had a clear run on goal, albeit from a position near the left touchline. However, BBC pundit Michael Stewart, in his Sportscene analysis, suggested the decision to send off the United defender was harsh. "I think a yellow card would have sufficed," he said. "It's in area where there's plenty more time... [Loick] Ayena's coming back round. I don't think it's an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. I think it's wide enough and the defence are in place to get back in as well. I don't think personally that should have been a red card." United will review the video footage before considering whether to appeal.
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