St Johnstone 4-1 Hamilton- Match Report

Steven MacLean hat-trick inspires St Johnstone win over HamiltonIn-form Steven MacLean stole the show for St Johnstone for the second successive home match as his clinical hat-trick inspired a fine 4-1 win over Hamilton.The 33-year-old dispatched two close-range finishes and showed consummate composure to net from the penalty spot as he took his tally for the season to six goals in seven matches.MacLean, who bagged a brace in the Saints' last outing at McDiarmid Park against Motherwell, also claimed an assist during a sensational showing, teeing up Liam Craig's first-half opener.Indeed, the veteran striker's heroics stole the limelight from Craig, who scored for St Johnstone for the first time since May 2013 after returning to the club for a second spell.Hamilton responded when Lucas Tagliapietra headed home an Ali Crawford cross, but the visitors will rue referee Andrew Dallas' decision not to award an early penalty.Dallas, who was lambasted for the way he oversaw Inverness' 1-1 draw at Dundee a fortnight ago by Caley Thistle boss John Hughes, was again the centre of attention during the opening exchanges.After dishing out one of the quickest bookings of the season - cautioning Grant Gillespie after 58 seconds for not retreating swiftly enough from a MacLean free-kick - he waved away strong claims for an Accies penalty.Carlton Morris appeared to be brought down inside the box as he latched on to a Crawford through-ball but the 26-year-old whistler thought differently.And the visitors' anger was almost compounded minutes later when Graham Cummins scampered clear on goal but saw his low drive saved by Michael McGovern at point-blank range.Accies midfielders Dougie Imrie and Crawford both fizzed hopeful efforts over the bar from distance before the Saints claimed the lead after 22 minutes.Craig, who entered the fray as an early replacement for the injured Murray Davidson, timed his run into the box perfectly to meet a superb MacLean cut-back and sweep the ball into the net.Tommy Wright's men doubled their lead three minutes later when Dallas did point to the penalty spot

He adjudged Darian MacKinnon to have deliberately handled the ball as he challenged MacLean in the air.MacLean dusted himself off to slam past the despairing dive of McGovern.Jesus Garcia Tena curled a superb effort from all of 30 yards inches wide of the post as Accies desperately searched for a way back into the match before half-time.Instead, Saints put the game to bed as a contest when MacLean met a low Michael O'Halloran cross to fire past McGovern from close range.The experienced marksmen ensured he would go home with the match ball just 10 minutes into the second half, turning in a Cummins header from all of three yards for his first hat-trick in almost 11 years.To their credit, Martin Canning's men refused to throw in the towel and claimed scant consolation through Tagliapietra, with the big Brazilian scoring his second goal of the season

Source : PA

Source: PA