Kilmarnock 1-1 St Johnstone: Drey Wright screamer earns St Jonstone a point at Rugby Park
Drey Wright’s stunning long-range strike earned a point for St Johnstone 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 back-post tap-in gave them the lead after Kyle Vassell had seen a goal ruled out by VAR.
Killie will have been disappointed at only being one goal in front at the break but the Saints improved slightly in the second half and Drey Wright lashed into the bottom corner from 25 yards to secure a draw.
A point was at least enough for the Rugby Park side to move above Ross County into 10th place, while St Johnstone remain eighth in the cinch Premiership.
The Kilmarnock team sheet showed three changes from the side which 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 who was 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 given the nod ahead of Connor McLennan.
The home side started on the front foot and Danny Armstrong tested Remi Matthews with an early free-kick that he parried to safety.
The St Johnstone goalkeeper made an even better save in the 18th minute, acrobatically clawing the ball away 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 in off the crossbar after another impressive Matthews save.
However, the Killie celebrations were short-lived as referee Chris Graham ruled the goal out for a handball against Vassell after being called over to the monitor by VAR.
The Rugby Park side continued to press and Armstrong had another golden chance in the 28th minute. The winger ghosted in at the far post to beat Matthews to a loose ball but the ball drifted tantalisingly wide of the left-hand post.
Kilmarnock’s pressure eventually told in the 38th minute as Matthews misjudged Jones’ deep inswinging cross, allowing Joe Wright to prod home at the back post to give the hosts a first-half lead.
St Johnstone were extremely poor in the first period but they were better after the break. Wright had their first shot on target in the 49th minute as he stung Sam Walker’s palms from range and Melker Hallberg saw a shot blocked moments
Kilmarnock then appealed for a penalty as Considine and Joe Wright challenged for a cross but VAR ruled that there had been no handball after a delay.
Both sides were struggling to create in a scrappy second half until Drey Wright produced a moment of magic in the 70th minute after Liam Donnelly had been caught in possession.
Zak Rudden’s initial shot was well blocked but the ball fell kindly to the St Johnstone wing-back who took a touch before arrowing a low shot across Walker into the bottom corner.
Kilmarnock were convinced that Donnelly had been fouled and the home fans were further frustrated in the 79th minute as the officials judged a Considine foul on Armstrong to have been marginally outside the area.
Substitute Fraser Murray almost won it at the death for the home side but Matthews got a finger to his inswinging low shot as the match finished all-square.
Kilmarnock return to Scottish Premiership action after the international break at home to Hearts on 1 April.
St Johnstone are at home to Aberdeen on the same day. Both matches kick-off at 3pm.
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