Partick 0-1 St Johnstone: Match Report
St Johnstone edge past Partick thanks to Steven MacLean's first-half goal
St Johnstone took all three points at Firhill after a hard-fought 1-0 Ladbrokes Premiership victory over Partick.
The home side dominated large swathes of the first half, but Saints capitalised on a defensive mishap to go into the break in the lead.
Callum Booth's erroneous back-pass five minutes before half-time allowed Steven MacLean to put the visitors in front against the run of play.
Despite much huff and puff in the second 45, both goalkeepers were rarely tested and Christie Elliot was sent off late-on for lashing out at Graham Cummins.
After a tentative opening, Ryan Edwards strode forward with purpose to fire a powerful effort over the bar.
Moments later, Steven Lawless wriggled free in the box to strike a half-volley wide of goal.
Then, as the home side upped the pressure, Kris Doolan rose highest to head the ball into the grateful arms of St Johnstone keeper Zander Clark.
The Jags should have taken the lead when Lawless's arrowed shot was palmed away by Clark into the path of Edwards. However the midfielder could only head wide with the goal seemingly at his mercy.
Clark was once more the centre of attention as Thistle continued to pin the Saints defence back. On this occasion, the keeper's fine point-blank save from Niall Keown's close-range effort kept the scores level.
The home side were in the ascendancy, yet it was St Johnstone who broke the deadlock on 40 minutes.
Callum Booth attempted to nod the ball back to his keeper with no apparent pressure. However, the defender's header lacked the required power, allowing the opportunistic MacLean to intercept the back-pass and finish with an acrobatic volley.
Early in the second half, Clark had to be alert once more to turn behind Doolan's headed effort.
However it was St Johnstone who came closest to scoring the second goal. Only a brave block from Liam Lindsay in the six-yard box prevented Graham Cummins from converting Murray Davidson's cut-back.
Substitute Azeez then had the opportunity work the goalie from 10 yards, but the Jags frontman could only re-direct Christie Elliot's cross straight down the throat of keeper Clark.
New signing Keown also missed a half-chance, screwing wide as a loose ball broke to him in the opposition box.
Christie Elliot was then sent off in stoppage time for tangling with Graham Cummins as Thistle frustrations boiled over.