Hearts 2-2 St Johnstone: Match Report

05 November 2016 05:34

Danny Swanson returns to Tynecastle and inspires St Johnstone fightback

Callum Paterson rescued a point for Hearts as they played out a breathless 2-2 draw with a St Johnstone side inspired by Danny Swanson on his return to Tynecastle.

The 22-year-old defender rose highest to meet a corner-kick with just three minutes remaining, powering beyond the excellent Zander Clark.

Paterson's sixth goal of the season cancelled out Chris Kane's strike 60 seconds earlier which looked destined to see the spoils return to Perth.

It was a grandstand finish to a magnificent encounter which had earlier seen Hearts claim the lead through Prince Buaben in the first half before Swanson, who started just five matches during an underwhelming six months in Gorgie last term, came back to haunt the Jambos with a superb leveller before the break.

Hearts striker Bjorn Johnsen utilised his 6ft 5ins frame to manufacture the first chance of the game, rising highest to meet a Paterson throw.

However, the big American's header was tipped over by Clark.

Seeking to defend a record of five games unbeaten against the capital club, Saints responded immediately, with former Hibs start David Wotherspoon drifting in from the left-flank and stinging the palms of Jack Hamilton.

Paterson was proving a constant nuisance and almost gave the hosts the lead in bizarre fashion when he gamely chased down Saints stopper Clark and blocked his attempted clearance - only to see the ball ricochet agonisingly wide.

Hearts claimed the lead in contentious fashion through Buaben. Don Cowie saw his drive from inside the box deflected onto the crossbar, however the rebound fell perfectly for the Ghanaian midfielder. His header was desperately blocked by Brian Easton - but the ball was deemed to have crossed the line.

A magnificent low save from Clark was required to stop Buaben from grabbing a second as Robbie Neilson's men pushed forward.

However, it was Saints who struck before the break, with Swanson coming back to haunt his former employees - and loving every minute of it.

He broke a ragged Hearts offside trap to dash on to a fine Steven MacLean pass and, as Hamilton advanced, he produced a shimmy in the box and fired the visitors level with aplomb.

The subsequent celebration saw Swanson jog in front of the home fans rubbing his belly in a message to any detractors who questioned his fitness during his time in Edinburgh.

There was no let-up in the extraordinary pace after the break, with Wotherspoon forcing a wonderful save from Hamilton before rattling the inside of the post with a whipped free-kick.

Tommy Wright's men did finally claim the lead through substitute Kane, who was able to meet a Wotherspoon cut-back and fire a tame shot beyond Hamilton - whose claims he was unsighted by a Saints player in an offside position went unheeded.

But, with the visitors seemingly on the cusp of victory, Paterson rose highest to head home a dramatic equaliser.

Source: PA