Soccer

Drey Wright and Chris Kane on target as St Johnstone see off Livingston

Drey Wright (left) opened the scoring in St Johnstone’s win over Livingston (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Drey Wright (left) opened the scoring in St Johnstone’s win over Livingston (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Drey Wright and Chris Kane were both on target as St Johnstone signed off on their cinch Premiership season with a 2-0 win over Livingston to end the visitors’ hopes of a seventh-placed finish.

Saints, who confirmed on Saturday that Steven MacLean will continue as manager on a permanent basis after a successful interim spell, had little to play for with safety guaranteed, but put in a stellar performance on the day Steve Brown emotionally stepped down as chairman after 11 years at the helm.

Wright opened the scoring after 17 minutes when he capitalised on some slack Livingston defending to score, before fit-again forward Kane climbed off the St Johnstone bench to net his first goal since December 26, 2021 from the penalty spot.

Boss MacLean made just one change from St Johnstone’s six-goal thriller with Ross County as Alex Mitchell replaced Andy Considine after the defender picked up an injury in the warm-up.

Livingston were eyeing the prospect of European football earlier in the year but a significant downturn in form has seen them earn just 11 points in 14 games since defeating Kilmarnock in February.

David Martindale made five changes from the 1-1 midweek draw with Dundee United as Jack Hamilton, James Penrice, Jason Holt, Scott Pittman and Steven Bradley all started.

The home side’s bright start paid dividends as they took the lead after just 17 minutes. After Ryan McGowan’s acrobatic effort was tipped over at full stretch by Hamilton, Wright latched onto a through ball which bypassed the whole Livingston defence and he rifled past Hamilton.

Livingston offered more of an attacking threat after the restart and should have levelled when Holt’s cross found Pittman unmarked six yards out but he glanced his header wide of the target.

St Johnstone should have doubled their lead minutes later when Graham Carey’s low cross found Wright just two yards from goal, but he somehow sent his effort over the bar with the goal gaping.

Saints were handed the opportunity to double their lead from 12 yards after 68 minutes when Penrice brought down James Brown inside the box as he raced towards goal.

Substitute Kane was handed responsibility and he kept his composure to fire home into the top right-hand corner.

Carey missed the opportunity to add gloss to the score line as he hit the side-netting from close range.

And there was even time for St Johnstone legend Murray Davidson to make his 415th and final appearance for the Saints as he paid an emotional farewell to McDiarmid Park after 14 years at the club.