On this day in 2006 St Johnstone met local rivals Dundee at McDiarmid Park in a League Division 1 match in front of a crowd of 4,127.
Saints were in something of a form slump following their memorable 2 – 0 CIS Cup win at Ibrox in November. Owen Coyle’s team’s league form was disappointing to say the least. With only one draw and three defeats in their previous four games Saints had slipped to fourth position in the league some nine points behind leaders Gretna. The previous Saturday Saints had suffered a 2 – 0 defeat at Raydale Park so this was something of a “must win” match.
The Manager selected the following team: – Bryn Halliwell, Andy Lawrie, Goran Stanic, Simon Mensing, Allan McManus, Kevin James, Martin Hardie, Darren Sheridan, Peter MacDonald, Jason Scotland, Paul Sheerin. Subs: – Michael McGovern, Steven Anderson, Steven Milne, Willie McLaren, Andy Jackson.
Saints got off to the perfect start when Jason Scotland scored the opening goal in just 8 minutes. The move started when Sheridan picked up a loose ball in midfield and found Hardie, who in turn threaded a great pass through to Scotland. The Trinidad and Tobago internationalist wasted little time in firing past former Saint Ludovic Roy in the Dundee goal to put Saints one up.
However, that lead did not last long as Gavin Swankie ( who would join Saints in 2008 ) netted in 14 minutes to level the score. Saints defence got into a bit of a fankle allowing Swankie the space and time to lob the ball over Halliwell’s head for 1 – 1.
The large derby crowd were creating a great atmosphere and on 25 minutes Saints regained their advantage when Scotland scored again. This time it was ” Peaso” who was the creator when he intercepted the ball out on the wing and passed to his striking colleague. Scotland drilled the ball into the net from a tight angle. 2 – 1.
Saints now had the upper hand and were creating chances without being able to find a finishing touch.
Nine minutes from the interval the referee turned down strong claims for a penalty when Sheerin was pulled down in the box. The normally mild-mannered midfielder received a yellow card for his overzealous appeals.
Just before half time there was an escape for Saints as Dundee missed a good chance after Halliwell had saved but could not hold a strong Swankie effort.
In the second half both teams had chances to add to their score with possibly the best of these chances falling to substitute Milne but Roy made an excellent save to deny the Saints striker.
In the last minute both Scotland and Hardie had good attempts on goal but neither came to fruition and an exciting match ended 2 – 1 to Saints.
There was more good news when it was learned that Gretna had lost at Airdrie and that their lead at the top had been reduced to 6 points.
Jason Scotland scored 26 goals from 45 starts plus 1 sub appearance that season.
On the last day of that 2006/07 season Saints defeated Hamilton Accies 4 – 3 at New Douglas Park but had to suffer the anguish of waiting for the Gretna score to come through from Dingwall where they were playing Ross County. The agony felt was unbearable when it was learned that Gretna had won 3 – 2 with a 92 minute goal giving them their win and the prize of promotion to the Premier League.