TWO different teams, two different problems, but an alarming lack of solutions.
Indeed, the post-match musings from both the Dundee United and St Johnstone camps concentrated on the fickle nature of Lady Luck rather than anything that they might had done differently. One lot needed the break of the ball to go for them; the other for it to stop going against them. Responsibility was in short supply.
For St Johnstone, the major difficulty is in seizing the opportunities that come their way. Steve Lomas bemoaned what he suggested is the worse chance conversion rate in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, the manager positing the theory that at least some of the eight draws his side have recorded in their 20 league games could have been victories were it not for the Perth players' profligacy.
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Liam Craig, who spurned two of the visitors clearest Boxing Day openings, concurred. Pointing to Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who will entertain St Johnstone tomorrow, the midfielder noted that any side boasting a regular goalscorer will thrive in a division as tight as the SPL. "Inverness are on an incredible run this season but I'm not surprised because they've always been hard to beat but have added some quality this season. When you've got someone like Billy McKay scoring 17 goals already you are going to be up there. We, on the other hand, have got to spread the goals throughout the team but the positive thing is the chances we are creating."
United can take comfort from a similar source, Peter Houston's side now having scored at least once in each of their previous 14 games. Their problem, however, is in preventing opponents from doing likewise. "We are letting stupid goals in and we need to nullify it," said Barry Douglas. "We feel we will score in every game, so if we can get the other side right we should be able to go on a good run."
It is not the first time that the full-back has offered such an appraisal; neither is it the first time he has been probed on United's ongoing problems at Tannadice, a venue where they are without a win since mid-August. "I wouldn't say it's a crisis because of all the games we have not won, we've only actually only lost a couple of them," he said. "We are letting teams back into games they shouldn't be in. There's no panic; if we hadn't put a point on the board since August we'd be panicking. We just need to stop conceding silly goals."
ANALYSIS Lady Luck not on the side of St Johnstone or Dundee United, writes Richard Winton