Kilmarnock and St Johnstone shared the spoils at Rugby Park as both sides looked to ease relegation fears in the Scottish Premiership.

Derek McInnes’ side had a goal ruled out for handball after a lengthy VAR check on 18 minutes, but they made sure to take the lead when Joe Wright found the back of the net on 37 minutes. The big defender nodded home an in-swinging Jordan Jones delivery with Saints keeper Remi Matthews caught in no man’s land.

Saints looked totally out of the contest but in the end, they grasped an important point in their own bid to avoid being pulled into the current scrap for survival. Drey Wright pounced on a loose ball after a quick Perth counter on 70 minutes before rifling home into the bottom corner.

Here are the big talking points and burning issues from the Ayrshire contest…

David Watson looks a talent

Derek McInnes has been criticised this season for not freshening up his Kilmarnock starting XI, but he was forced into a midfield change on Saturday with Liam Polworth out through injury. Prestwick-born David Watson was given the nod for his first league start for Killie and the 18-year-old impressed from the off. He looked eager to get on the ball, he mixed it physically with the St Johnstone midfield and sprayed the ball about the Rugby Park surface with confidence. From the press box, it was obvious that his performance went down a storm with the home support and his manager McInnes, who was visibly impressed on the touchline. It may have been a first league start for the youngster, but he could have an important role to play in the season run-in.

Saints missing key men

Callum Davidson’s Saints looked out of ideas for long periods against Kilmarnock and they ultimately struggled to get their foot on the ball in the middle of the park. A midfield trio of Cammy MacPherson, Melker Hallberg and Graham Carey were passive and failed to create in the final third. St Johnstone’s successes in recent times have hinged a lot on midfield powerhouse Daniel Phillips, and his suspension for the past two matches has hurt the team as a whole. The Trinidad and Tobago internationalist is key to making Saints click from the middle of the pitch and his return against Aberdeen next time out will be huge.

Big result in relegation battle

This felt like a bigger point for St Johnstone than Kilmarnock in the end. Killie were by far the better side on their own patch and probably should have been out of sight in the first half with several chances passing McInnes’ team by. With Ross County losing at Livingston and Dundee United drawing against St Mirren, it was a huge chance to gain points on those below them. Saints on the other hand grabbed a point that retained their spot in eighth. They are ten points off the bottom and eight points ahead of the play-off position.