ST MIRREN and St Johnstone are both still looking for their first win of the season after an entertaining 0-0 draw in the cinch Premiership at the Simple Digital Arena, though both teams will have felt they could have taken all three points.

Both will feel they should have won, with Richard Tait coming closest in the dying minutes of the first half for St Mirren, when it looked easier to score, and second-half substitute Glenn Middleton rattling the bar in injury time.

Jim Goodwin was back in the dugout after testing positive for Covid and missing the 6-0 defeat at Celtic Park. He made three changes to his St Mirren side, with Charles Dunne, Richard Tait and Eamonn Brophy coming in. Callum Davidson made six changes to the St Johnstone team after their Europa Conference qualifier defeat to LASK on Thursday.

Both these sides have failed to win over 90 minutes since the league kicked off, with St Johnstone failing to win any of their nine competitive matches in regulation time since their Scottish Cup win in May. 

The first half was a scrappy affair, but not short on chances. Both sides posed a threat from set-pieces, with several training-ground routines on show. It was from a free kick that St Mirren thought they had taken the lead on eight minutes when Conor McCarthy, starting the match in an unfamiliar central midfield role, nodded in. The celebrations were cut short when the linesman raised his flag for offside. 

 “I think the goal we had disallowed was onside,” said Goodwin. “I watched it back with the analyst. Conor McCarthy is bang in line with Shaun Rooney. 

“Those are the kind of decisions you need to go for you. The linesman was too quick to put the flag up and it was a poor decision.”

Ten minutes later St Mirren should have been ahead. A Brophy flick-on from a long ball allowed Jamie McGrath to take a touch around his man and bear down on goal. The Irishman, called up to his national side for the upcoming international break, then squared to the unmarked Curtis Main, whose shot was far too weak.

At the other end, St Mirren goalkeeper Jak Alnwick had to be alert to stop a Callum Hendry header and a David Wotherspoon effort from range. 

On the stroke of half-time St Mirren had another glorious opportunity, again froma free kick, when Tait found himself a few yards out after a clever run. It looked like a matter of just easing the ball into the net but he somehow steered it towards Clark and the keeper pawed it off the line.

If St Mirren edged the first half it was the visitors who enjoyed more of the second period, though not until MIddleton had taken to the field in place of Hendry. He combined a number of times on the right with Shaun Rooney but St Johnstone could not make their dominance count, with St Mirren’s Ethan Erhahon having to get in the way of a Rooney cross when Ali McCann was ready to pounce with much of the goal to aim at. 

The closest they came was in injury-time when Middleton stepped up to take a free kick after Hayden Muller was fouled following a bursting run from his own half. Alnwick could only watch, rooted to his line, as the ball crashed back off his bar. 

“Glenn had a fantastic strike at the end and on another day it would have ended up in the top corner,” said St Johnstone manager Davidson. “He gave us a spark when he came on and so did Kano [Chris Kane].

“It’s a game we go away from feeling positive about.

“Unfortunately we’re just not able to put the ball in the back of the net at the moment.”

There was still time for Erhahon to pick up his second booking, meaning St Mirren have picked up three red cards in their four league matches this season.

The result leaves St Mirren 11th with two points from their opening four matches, while St Johnstone, despite finding the net just once, sit eighth with three points.