• SPL round-up

MacLean keeps Saints on course for Europe

ESPN staff
April 27, 2013

Steven MacLean's second-half header gave St Johnstone a 1-0 victory over 10-man Inverness in their clash at McDiarmid Park which put them firmly back in the race for a Europa League spot.

Caley right-back David Raven was shown a straight red card by referee Craig Thomson in the 11th minute for a 'last-man' challenge on Perth forward Rowan Vine but the home side struggled to make the most of the advantage during a mostly turgid game.

Saints did hit the post and the bar in the first half but did not get the breakthrough until the 77th minute when MacLean headed in after good work on the left by substitute Nigel Hasselbaink, on 20 minutes earlier for Gregory Tade.

Niall McGinn's 20th goal of the season was enough to beat Kilmarnock and provide a superb start to new Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes' Pittodrie reign as well as setting the Dons on the road to a victory that moves them above visitors Kilmarnock to head the SPL's bottom six.

Dundee averted relegation for another week after Ryan Conroy's 30-yard free-kick earned them a third consecutive victory as they beat Hearts 1-0.

Conroy's deflected effort found the net with 10 minutes left of a nervy performance against 10-man Hearts, which left the hosts eight points adrift with three games left in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

But with St Mirren securing a 3-3 draw with Hibernian, Dundee need to win all of their remaining games and hope St Mirren lose all of theirs as the Paisley side are 24 goals better off than John Brown's men.

Leigh Griffiths' late equaliser for Hibernian against St Mirren means the Buddies face another anxious wait before they can confirm their survival following a 3-3 draw.

The Paisley outfit's draw at Easter Road leaves them just eight points clear of bottom club Dundee after John Brown's side beat Hearts at Dens Park.

However, victory over the Jambos at Tynecastle next Saturday will be enough to confirm an eighth successive season of top-flight football next term.

Griffiths, who had struck five goals in the sides' first three meetings this term, opened the scoring after 31 minutes with a sensational effort into the top corner but Saints levelled through Portuguese attacker Esmael Goncalves on the hour mark.

Hibs striker Ross Caldwell had the home side ahead again on 68 minutes but two headers from Marc McAusland had the Buddies on the verge of safety with just eight minutes remaining.

However Griffiths, who heads back to parent club Wolves in the summer, ensures he leaves with the curses of Saints fans ringing in his ears following his equaliser four minutes from time.

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