St Mirren 0 v 1 Inverness Caledonian Thistle
New St. Mirren Park is a place that no matter what, guarantees an interesting Saturday afternoon. Games can be absorbing, the fans in Paisley are always entertainingly demanding and if all else fails you can watch planes take off from Glasgow Airport.
In this instalment however, all eyes were on the match referee as he produced card after card for both teams. It’s not usually the place of this report to comment – in fact if anything we let others deal with opinion and controversy, but three yellow cards to Inverness in the space of two minutes in the first half and a red card left the game crippled as a spectacle and a media looking for the aggression and ire that caused the damage. It just wasn’t there.
The wind, which managed to halt a few Brill kick outs in comical “stopped in its tracks” fashion compounded Saint’s insistence on watering the pitch (and by accident, the away support) to the point of saturation gave a greasy surface where control was never going to be easy and once the referee had decided to start cautioning players, an escalation in numbers was inevitable.
For someone as robust in the challenge and with the determination to win of Ross Draper or as defensively active as Josh Meekings a booking was a matter of time and duly arrived. Football did break out, however and there was a willingness from both sides to make it happen.
A lovely move in 17 minutes had Billy Mckay celebrating, but was disallowed for the closest of offsides and McGinn nearly chipped Dean Brill from twenty yards out.
Chances were difficult to fashion, but the breakthrough came just before half time when McAusland tried to remove the shirt from Gary Warren as he was going for a header towards goal. Tansey emphatically converted the spot kick.
Ryan Christie was then booked a minute later and just how significant this would be was only briefly interrupted by half time.
Less than five minutes in to the second half, Ryan Christie was dismissed for a challenge on McGinn that he looked to have successfully avoided. Aghast, he made the walk that any of those on a yellow card were mere inches away from and St. Mirren stepped up the pressure.
In doing that, they exposed the problems that have them rooted to the lower reaches of the table in that they really lack someone who can convert the chances made by open play which is as good as anything in the premiership. Of course as they pushed forward, chances were made for Mckay (one an absolute peach of a turn and half volley) Vincent and Sekajja who made his debut appearance.
You can guess the subject of most of John Hughes analysis of the game, and it’s hard not to have sympathy. Of the game, he said “It was a scrappy game, that’s for sure, but we move on, and, at times, we looked like we could have scored a few on the counter. But being down to 10 men we adapted well, we changed the shape a couple of times though we can still be better than we were today."
Against Dundee United, our next opponents, we might need to be but no matter how irked John might have been at other factors one thing remains – this was a great three points.
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