Scottish Football - St Johnstone manager Lomas salutes Saints' spirit

St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas hailed his players after Liam Craig's last-gasp equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Dundee United at McDiarmid Park secured the Saints a top-six finish in the Scottish Premier League.

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Scottish Football - St Johnstone manager Lomas salutes Saints' spirit
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Liam Craig, right, headed home late on to clinch a point for St Johnstone

United's 17-year-old forward Ryan Gauld, starting for the first time, took only 23 minutes to make an impact when he raced on to a Mark Millar pass to knock the ball past Saints keeper Alan Mannus. With 12 minutes remaining United midfielder Stuart Armstrong was sent off before Craig leapt to head in a corner from substitute Mehdi Abeid, who had replaced Tom Scobbie.

The Perth side remain four points ahead of sixth-placed Kilmarnock with one game against Inverness to go before the split, and Lomas said: "It's a remarkable achievement for St Johnstone to finish in the top six two seasons in a row. We're delighted to get there in the end.

"Obviously I would have preferred to have won the game but we're just happy to get the point we needed.

"I was disappointed with the way United out-hassled us in the first half so I had words with the players at half-time. We looked like a team who had three weeks off and I wasn't happy about it.

"I just said to them, we know you want this so go out and make it happen. We had to play with a bit more composure.

"In the second half I felt we improved massively and even before the second half we were the better team. Mehdi came on and brought a bit of quality with the ball he sent in. Liam just closed his eyes and put the header in."

United are in eighth place with 41 points and with one game against Aberdeen remaining before the split, have to wait and see if they can make the top half of the table and boss Jackie McNamara thought his side had survived a late onslaught before Craig got the equaliser.

He said: "You think it is going to be your night, you think you are going to win but you have to see it out. We defended well at times when they put us under pressure.

"The sending-off gave them the lift they needed. We stopped passing the ball and we got caught in a scrappy game."

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