Dundee Utd manager Peter Houston was coming into this match with confidence and was again looking to the attacking trio of Daly, Russell and Mackay-Steven to lead the Euro charge.
St Johnstone started the game much the brighter of the teams and almost took an early lead when debutant Riordan’s free kick was spilled by Pernis but from 3yds Sheridan managed only to thunder the ball of the post, and really from the home side that was about all she wrote for the first half as the visitors took control of the game. With the running of Mackay-Steven and Russell creating space and chances seemingly at will as wave upon wave of tangerine and black crashed on the home rearguard, it. Was no surprise when just on the half hour the away side took the lead with some good work in the box by Rankin allowed the on rushing Robertson to fire the ball passed Mannus into the bottom corner.
As the second half got underway Steve Lomas was looking for a response from his charges but although there endeavour increased the final touches escaped his patchwork midfield leading to striker Sandaza cutting a frustrated figure, this seemed to come to a head when he was booked in 57 minutes for dissent, but less than 2 minutes later his frustration boiled over when a seemingly innocuous collision with Sean Dillon resulted in the Spaniard kicking out and leaving referee Euan Norris with no alternative to send him packing but Sandaza wasn’t finished there as he clashed with his own players as they tried to shepherd him from the field pushing Adams and clashing with Mackay.
With The Saints down to ten men Utd were able to see the game out and capped of a good afternoons work when in stoppage time Rankin broke into the box and coolly dispatched the ball past a helpless Mannus, the only downside to an otherwise comfortable afternoon for Peter Houston was a shoulder injury to impressive defender Gavin Gunning who landed heavily injuring his shoulder.
After the match Sean Dillon confessed that he was surprised to see Sandaza sent off as he felt almost nothing of the kick aimed at him and was just happy that his team had come away from a poor game with vital 3 points.
Although admitting that they hadn’t played well St Johnstone vice captain Dave Mackay felt that Sandaza had “killed” his teams chance and possibly with it there euro chances. Even Saints boss Lomas confessed that although he would back his players to the hilt the Spaniards actions were indefensible and with a possible 3 match ban for his red card and one match for accumulative yellows the one time Perth hero could have signed of his stay as the ultimate villain.
St Johnstone: Mannus, Mackay, Maybury, Adams (Moon), Wright, McCracken (Anderson), Riordan (Haber), Davidson, Robertson, Sheridan, Sandaza.
Subs not used: Enckelman, Moon, Oyenuga, Keatings, McIntosh
Dundee United: Pernis, Dillon, Dixon, Flood, Robertson, Daly, Rankin, Russell, Mackay-Steven (Ryan), Gunning (Watson), Neilson.
Subs not used: Banks, Swanson, Douglas, Armstrong, Dow
Referee: Euan Norris