St Johnstone let two-goal lead slip towards Inverness in play-off

Reece McAlear hit a late double as Inverness recovered from a horrendous begin to attract 2-2 with St Johnstone within the first leg of the cinch Premiership play-off remaining.

Saints fully dominated the primary hour within the Highlands and regarded set to take a commanding lead again to Perth.

Former Caley Thistle defender Shaun Rooney, who headed Scottish Cup and League Cup winners at Hampden final season, scored in his third consecutive remaining.

Melker Hallberg scored from shut vary to place Saints two forward inside 24 minutes and the guests might have had extra.

But Billy Dodds’ tactical modifications steadily had an impression and McAlear scored together with his staff’s first shot heading in the right direction within the 73rd minute.

The on-loan Norwich midfielder then curled an outstanding 30-yard free-kick into the highest nook seven minutes later.

Saints had 24 photographs at objective, seven of them heading in the right direction, whereas Zander Clark didn’t make a save from the hosts’ six efforts. But the Perth aspect’s 12-year keep within the prime flight now relies on a one-off sport at McDiarmid Park on Monday.

A staff ending in third or fourth place within the Championship has by no means received the play-offs and Caley Thistle’s semi-final win over runners-up Arbroath got here at a price.

Experienced centre-back Danny Devine and substitute Wallace Duffy picked up one-match suspensions from controversial crimson playing cards and midfielder Shane Sutherland suffered a knee damage which dominated him out.

Dodds went with a again three with midfielder Sean Welsh dropping again.

Caley Thistle at the least had per week to recuperate from the 120 minutes of motion at Gayfield, however Saints had been in a position to relaxation gamers towards Hibernian on Sunday and Callum Davidson made six modifications.

His aspect took management from the beginning and solely an excellent diving cease from Mark Ridgers prevented Glenn Middleton’s highly effective 25-yard strike hitting the highest nook inside 5 minutes.

Saints continued to threaten from lengthy vary with Hallberg and Rooney denied and Murray Davidson taking pictures large in house.

The Seventeenth-minute opener got here from a well-known risk when Rooney out-jumped wing-back Cameron Harper on the again put up to energy Hallberg’s cross into the highest nook.

The-one means visitors continued and Middleton shot over earlier than Hallberg compelled the ball dwelling after Ridgers’ parry from Callum Hendry had sparked a goalmouth scramble.

Davidson volleyed large earlier than Dodds was in a position to make some half-time modifications. Welsh moved into midfield and attackers Austin Samuels and Logan Chalmers got here on.

There was little rapid impression and Hendry had a shot tipped over as Saints maintained their risk.

Caley Thistle improved in possession however Saints had been discovering house on the break and Middleton got here shut.

The dwelling aspect started to get some encouragement with balls from out large they usually pulled a objective again when Samuels in the reduction of for McAlear to fireside into the roof of the online.

The visiting bench had been irritated that referee Bobby Madden had not stopped play for a head knock to Jamie McCart they usually had been quickly in disbelief when McAlear struck once more.

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