Thursday, April 25, 2024

St Johnstone’s late leveller could be crucial moment in season – Craig Levein

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 2 Mar 2024

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Craig Levein believes Nicky Clark’s late equaliser against Livingston could be looked back on as a crucial moment in St Johnstone’s season.

Saints jumped to ninth in the cinch Premiership after Clark nodded home with three minutes remaining to cancel out Andrew Shinnie’s opener.

The McDiarmid Park boss admitted it was a game that was unlikely to live long in the memory but insisted the end result could be significant in his side’s quest to avoid the drop.

“I think in the end it will be a good point,” Levein said.

“Two teams sitting at the bottom of the table who are obviously concerned about their league positions and who realise if it comes down to a scrap then they have to roll their sleeves up and really have a go.

“I think what you saw was the outcome of that pressure, there wasn’t much good football or calm thinking going on and it was a real fight.”

Levein was delighted for Clark, who came up with his sixth goal of the season to drag St Johnstone level.

It was the striker’s third game in the space of a week – his most consistent run of matches in what has been an injury-plagued season.

“Playing Nicky was a big one for me because I was really concerned about him breaking down,” Levein added.

“But if we can get quality balls into the box he’ll score goals.

“We had a lot of crosses but they were poor until Graham Carey put a great one in and then you wouldn’t want anyone else on the end of it other than Nicky.

“That’s what he does, he scores goals, he’s done it his whole career.”

David Martindale is adamant his Livingston team has what it takes to survive the drop, despite being denied the chance to move within four points of nearest rivals Ross County.

It was a familiar tale for Livi, who have now conceded important goals in each of their last three away league fixtures.

“It’s difficult, the players are fighting tooth-and-nail and anyone can see how much the players are putting into the games,” Martindale said.

“I’d never question their heart and their spirit, from matchday one to where we are just now, I think that has been there in abundance.

“The players are gutted in there, they’ve been gutted most games when they don’t pick three points up.

“But I’m trying to explain – and I’m not trying to come over delusional – if you’re 1-0 down and you score the late goal then it changes the narrative to a great point.”

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