St Johnstone 1-1 Ross County: The Saints Score a Late Equalizer to Ensure They Stay Out of the Relegation Play-offs Down to the Final Day - Latest Global News

St Johnstone 1-1 Ross County: The Saints Score a Late Equalizer to Ensure They Stay Out of the Relegation Play-offs Down to the Final Day

The battle between St Johnstone and Ross County to avoid the crucial Premiership play-off goes down to the final day after Saints striker Adama Sidibeh scored a dramatic last-minute equalizer at McDiarmid Park.

County attacking midfielder Yan Dhanda, on his way to Hearts in the summer, scored a superb goal after 28 minutes that would secure the visitors’ top-flight status.

However, Sidibeh scored a 90th-minute equalizer with a header to keep the Saints two points behind the 10th-placed Staggies.

St Johnstone face Motherwell in their final league game at Fir Park on Sunday, while Ross County host Aberdeen on the same day. Whoever finishes 11th will go into a play-off with Raith Rovers or Partick Thistle.

Neither team went into the game in top form.

Saints, who last won a home game in December, lost to a late Livingston winner in West Lothian on Saturday, while the Staggies, whose victory at Kilmarnock last September was their only away win this season, were beaten 5-1 at home from Motherwell.

Amid what was expected to be a hectic start, County striker Simon Murray’s right-footed shot was parried by Saints keeper Dimitar Mitov, who moments later did a much better job of parrying George Harmon’s close-range header from a cross from Murray.

The home team then had a few options.

In the 16th minute, Ross County centre-back Jack Baldwin completely missed a shot from distance, allowing Saints attacker Stevie May to run freely towards goal, but a weak shot was easily saved by County keeper Ross Laidlaw .

Then St Johnstone midfielder Dan Phillips shot over the bar from 14 yards after being set up by Nicky Clark.

Picture:
Adama Sidibeh celebrates his late equalizer for St Johnstone

However, it was Dhanda who conjured up a piece of magic to give County the lead, playing a one-two with Jordan White and marching into the Saints penalty area before thundering a left-footed shot high past the helpless Mitov.

However, the Saints keeper made a fantastic double save a few minutes later, first from a powerful Harmon shot and then from Murray after the loose ball, although the flag then went up for offside against the latter.

The game was temporarily stopped by referee Nick Walsh just before half-time due to an apparent VAR glitch, but both sides got back to work in the second half and didn’t concede an inch.

County looked increasingly threatening but there were few chances on either side until Saints substitute Ben Kimpioka shot just over the bar from inside the box in the 65th minute.

The final stages were a bit awkward for the Dingwall side, but it looked like they were going to make it until Sidibeh headed in Graham Carey’s cross just before normal time was over, giving the home side a crucial Premier League victory
Lifeline.

What the managers said…

St Johnstone boss Craig Levine:

“We have moved on and are still confident that things can go our way.”

“All credit goes to the boys, even though we were open in the second half, we haven’t had much luck this season but I think we just deserve it with the effort we put in.”

“The hope is that we go to Motherwell and win, then Aberdeen beat Ross County. We will try to deliver a strong performance.”

“Even if we have to go to the play-offs, I would rather go into form than disappointment. So the message to the players on Sunday is: just go out there and play as best we can and if everything works out. “We did fantastically and if not, we’ll be ready to go into the play-offs in good shape .

“We have to be confident to get there and win. The reality, of course, is that it is now out of our hands.”

“We wanted it to be completely in our hands, but that’s not the case. But I don’t think Aberdeen will be an easy team to beat on Sunday either.”

“Sunday will be about many different things: character, quality and maybe a bit of luck, who knows?”

“We showed a lot of energy later in our performances, I liked that and it was visible tonight. So let’s move on to Sunday and we’ll see what happens.”

Ross County boss Don Cowie:

“It’s football, isn’t it? It happens.”

“The players are down and disappointed but it is my job to lift them up and lift their spirits for the game against Aberdeen.”

“I felt it was a good away performance, they handled the pressure well and I felt comfortable.”

“So I’m not angry, we switched off quite easily and [Graham] Carey has a wonderful left foot. He put a ball in and to be fair it was a great header.

“The good thing is that Sunday’s game comes quickly and we won’t have time to think about it.”

“We will recover and be ready to face Aberdeen. They are in good form but apart from Motherwell at home we have been excellent at home.”

“I said before the game that we earned the right to have it in our own hands and we did that tonight.”

“Until the 90th minute I thought we had done it. St Johnstone put a lot of attackers on the pitch and we switched off.”

What’s next?

St Johnstone’s The final Scottish Premiership game of the season is away Motherwell on Sunday, during Ross County host Aberdeen.

Both games start at 3 p.m.

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