Kilmarnock 1 – 1 St J’stone

Drey Wright’s superb long-range strike earned St Johnstone a point as they held Kilmarnock to a 1-1 draw at Rugby Park.

The home side were completely dominant in the first half and Joe Wright’s tap-in gave them the lead after Kyle Vassell saw a goal ruled out by VAR.

Killie will have been disappointed to go just one goal clear at the break, but Saints improved slightly in the second half and Drey Wright struck into the bottom corner from 25 yards out to secure a draw.

A point was at least enough to lift the Rugby Park side over Ross County in 10th place, while St Johnstone remained eighth in the Premiership cinch.

Drey Wright celebrates the score to make it 1-1

Kilmarnock’s squad sheet showed three changes from the side that lost to Inverness in the Scottish Cup last weekend. Ash Taylor, Liam Polworth and Luke Chambers dropped out and were replaced by Jeriel Dorsett, Jordan Jones and youngster David Watson making his first league start.

Saints boss Callum Davidson made just two changes as Andy Considine returned in place of Adam Montgomery and Theo Bair was approved ahead of Connor McLennan.

The home side started on the front foot and Danny Armstrong tested Remi Matthews with an early free kick which he parried for safety.

The St Johnstone keeper produced an even better save in the 18th minute, scraping the ball in acrobatic fashion after Armstrong met Jones’ deep cross at the far post.

The hosts’ dominance continued and they thought they had taken the lead moments later when Vassell slammed the ball off the crossbar after another impressive save from Matthews.

However, Killie’s celebrations were cut short as referee Chris Graham ruled out the goal for a handball against Vassell after being called to the monitor by VAR.

The Rugby Park side kept pushing and Armstrong had another golden chance in the 28th minute. The winger snuck past the far post to beat Matthews on a loose ball, but the ball temptingly drifted past the left post.

KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND - MARCH 18: Joe Wright of Kilmarnock celebrates the score to make it 1-0 during a Premiership cinch match between Kilmarnock and St Johnstone at Rugby Park on March 18, 2023 in Kilmarnock, Scotland.  (Photo by Roddy Scott/SNS Group)
Joe Wright of Kilmarnock celebrates scoring to make it 1-0

Kilmarnock’s pressure finally showed in the 38th minute as Matthews misjudged Jones’ deep cross, allowing Joe Wright to drive home at the back post to give the hosts a first-half lead.

St Johnstone were extremely poor in the first half, but they were better after the break. Wright scored his first shot on target in the 49th minute as he pricked the palms of Sam Walker from distance and Melker Hallberg saw a shot blocked moments

Kilmarnock then appealed for a penalty as Considine and Joe Wright challenged a cross, but VAR ruled there was no handball after delay.

Both teams struggled to create in a scrappy second half until Drey Wright produced a moment of magic in the 70th minute after Liam Donnelly was taken into possession.

Zak Rudden’s initial shot was blocked well but the ball fell nicely to the St Johnstone full-back who took a throw-in before firing a low shot through Walker into the bottom corner.

Kilmarnock were convinced Donnelly had been fouled and home fans were further frustrated in the 79th minute as officials ruled a Considine foul on Armstrong had gone slightly outside the area.

Substitute Fraser Murray almost won it to the death for the home side, but Matthews put his finger on his low shot as the game ended squared.

And after?

Kilmarnock return to Scottish Premiership action after home international break for Hearts the 1st of April.

St. Johnstone are home for Aberdeen the same day. Kick-off for both matches at 3 p.m.

Sky Sports

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