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Super Stevie sends Saints through

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A double from Stevie May at New Douglas Park (a ground he called home last season) helped send St Johnstone comfortably through to the last eight of the League Cup.

On a night where the under-dogs were causing all sorts of problems to the established Premiership sides, this game was as comfortable as it gets for the Perth Saints.

Stevie May was returning for the first time to Hamilton since his 26-goal loan spell at the Championship club last season and it didn’t take the youngster very long to put the Saints in front as he fired the Perth men ahead after 3 minutes.

Hamilton could have sneaked an equaliser as they applied plenty of pressure on their Premiership opponents, however a defensive slip-up let Edwards sneak in to score his first senior goal and put the Saints two up.

May added some extra shine to the score line in injury-time as he scored a 25-yard screamer with the last touch of the game.

Hamilton went into the match as the in-form side having beaten Cowdenbeath on Saturday to keep their five points lead at the top of the Championship intact. The Accies were also strengthened by the return of Jesus Tena from illness and Ziggy Gordon from a head injury, however Accies were without their top goal-scorer James Keatings.

Saints went into the match after a defeat at Celtic Park, however they could count on a near full side with only David Robertson missing with a broken leg.

It only took Saints three minutes to take the lead at New Douglas Park when Stevie May headed home. A Dave Mackay cross from out wide found Steve Maclean in the box who headed to an unmarked May who headed clinically into the top corner of the net, past a diving Cuthbert.

Tony Andreu was the first to reply from Accies as he had a turn and shot from the edge of the box on 17 minutes which smashed off the upright corner of the post and out for a goal-kick.

Saints nearly doubled their lead with 20 minutes gone, as Miller drilled a ball across the Hamilton goal which found Maclean whose flick on deflected off a Hamilton defender before nipping over the bar.

May nearly got his second on 35 minutes for St Johnstone, Maclean found himself one on one with Cuthbert, however his late shot was saved by the feet of the keeper and May who latched onto the deflection was unable to turn the ball into the net, instead hitting the side netting.

Andreu had another great opportunity to score for Accies just before half-time as he danced and weaved in front of the Saints goal before unleashing a shot from the corner of the box which went narrowly wide.

Into the second-half and Hasselbaink had a near carbon copy attempt on goal as Andreu as he danced and weaved across the front of the Hamilton goal before firing away a shot which was deflected wide off a Hamilton defender.

Hamilton were getting more and more desperate to score as the game went on and this was epitomised by Mickael Antoine-Curier who chested down the ball 30-yards out from goal and then fired off a speculative scissor-kick which went well wide.

Accies came closest to scoring with 15 minutes remaining when an Ali Crawford free-kick found Darian Mackinnon at the back-post whose headed effort was tipped over the bar by Alan Mannus.

The game was over on 85 minutes when a defensive slip-up allowed super-sub Gwion Edwards to tackle Cuthbert in goal, get up from the challenge and tap the ball from five yards out into an empty net.

The third and final Saints goal came through Stevie May in injury time. May picked up the ball 30-yards out from goal, turned, took a touch forward and then fired a thunderbolt of a strike into the top of net from 25-yards out leading to mass applause from both sets of supporters. Law Lavin representatives were among them.

After the match, Hamilton player-manager Alex Neil felt his side deserved a lot more than a three nil loss and was full of praise for former Accies player Stevie May, he said: “I thought one nothing would have being a fair result in the end, I don’t think it was a three nil. First-half, St Johnstone had the better of the game and they looked dangerous. Their front three are powerful and quick and they caused us some problems. But I thought as the game went on we got more and more into it.

“I thought we had a lot of possession and pressure in the second-half without really creating any clinical clear-cut chances and to lose the second goal in the manner that we did is very difficult to see .It was disappointing for the younger lads in the team as I thought we matched them for long spells.

“But we are only at the start of our journey as a team, we have a lot of young lads in the team and they have only started getting into the side at the end of last season. Stevie May was with us last season and that second goal shows you what he is capable off.”

St.Johnstone manager Tommy Wright felt his side deserved the victory on the night, he added: “I thought that we were quite comfortable. We worked really hard to limit them to very few opportunities. They did put the ball in the box a lot but our centre-half’s dealt with it magnificently. I think three nil is a fair reflection. We had quite a bit of dominance in the game, I am pleased in the end that we got that second and third goal and that’s what made the score line a fair reflection on the game.”

Hamilton Accies: Kevin Cuthbert, Ziggy Gordon, Stephen Hendrie, Mikey Devlin, Martin Canning, Jon McShane (Andy Ryan), Alex Neil, Ali Crawford, Darian MacKinnon, Tony Andreu (Louis Longridge), Mickael Antoine Curier.

Subs not used: Blair Currie, Craig Watson, Jesus Garcia Tena.

St Johnstone: Alan Mannus, Dave Mackay, Paddy Cregg (Gary Miller), Frazer Wright, Steven Anderson, Chris Millar, Gary McDonald (David Wotherspoon), Steve Maclean, Nigel Hasselbaink (Gwion Edwards), Stevie May, Brian Easton.

Subs not used: Steve Banks, Liam Caddis.

Referee: John Beaton

Attendance: 1059

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