St Johnstone score two late goals to beat 10-man Kilmarnock in dramatic finish
St Johnstone scored twice in the closing stages to beat 10-man Kilmarnock 2-1 and secure their first Scottish Premiership win of the new campaign.
Kilmarnock were on course to seal their first win of the season following Aaron Tshibola’s 61st-minute strike but minutes later defender Ross Millen was shown a straight red card for a two-footed challenge on Scott Tanser.
And the numerical disadvantage cost them as substitute David Wotherspoon equalised with five minutes remaining before Michael O’Halloran pounced on Stuart Findlay’s backpass to slot in a dramatic winner four minutes into added time.
Chris Burke had scored in each of Kilmarnock’s opening three Premiership fixtures and had a chance to grab another when he robbed Jason Kerr of possession in the second minute and burst into the penalty area, but the winger was outmuscled by Liam Gordon as the defender got back to make a crucial challenge.
St Johnstone were presented with a chance when Kilmarnock goalkeeper Danny Rogers, under no pressure, spilled a lofted cross from Liam Craig and Callum Hendry latched on to the loose ball inside the box but turned his shot wide.
Kilmarnock had a huge shout for a penalty after 24 minutes when Nicke Kabamba stole in behind St Johntone’s defence and had his shirt pulled by Gordon before the defender turned the ball behind. The hosts appealed for a spot-kick but referee Andrew Dallas awarded a corner.
Shaun Rooney was booked for pulling back Mitch Pinnock on the edge of the area and from the free-kick Killie defender Findlay lashed in a shot which forced Elliott Parish into a fine save.
Kilmarnock kept pushing for the opener and Parish was tested again when Burke gathered a deep cross from Findlay and then lashed in a shot which the goalkeeper turned round a post.
From the resultant corner Pinnock swung in a cross which was met by Kirk Broadfoot but his powerful header crashed against the crossbar.
St Johnstone needed to pose more of an attacking threat after the interval and the visitors came close to breaking the deadlock in the 50th minute through a Hendry set-piece.
From just outside the area, Hendry drilled in a low shot which Rogers saved with an outstretched leg.
Kilmarnock broke the deadlock after 61 minutes through Tshibola.
Broadfoot played a long ball over the Saints defence for Pinnock and he then rolled the ball into the path of Tshibola to finish from 10 yards out as the midfielder claimed his first goal since October 2018.
Moments later Kilmarnock were reduced to 10 men when Millen was shown a straight red card by referee Dallas for a two-footed challenge on Scott Tanser on the halfway line.
Hendry went close on two occasions late on to equalise and St Johnstone’s late pressure finally told when sub Wotherspoon was in the right place to turn home Liam Craig’s cross with just five minutes remaining.
St Johnstone were not done and deep into added time Findlay’s slack backpass was picked up by Wotherspoon and he calmly went round Rogers and slotted home the winner.