Livingston 1 St. Johnstone 1
Nerves were to be expected but the St Johnstone defence had the jingles worse than a local radio station.
Beanpole defender Kevin James attempted to clear the ball inside his own area after 16 minutes but the Saints centre half resembled a bush league baseball player as he swung his leg in midair. The ball trickled through to keeper Bryn Halliwell who presented the 2669 fans in attendance to his best impersonation of the Channel Tunnel as the ball rolled through his legs, enticingly in front of the ever alert Steven Craig who could scarcely have had an easier chance in his whole career.
If Halliwell was dressed in a Santa suit then the shameful ineptitude in the away defence may have been slightly more plausible.
Saints were not bashful in seeking retribution for their follies and almost clawed level sixty seconds later. Jason Scotland embarked on a bustling run before slipping the ball to the mercurial Paul Sheerin, In tribute to the Ryder Cup currently being played in Dublin, the midfielder sliced his shot wide from 10 yards out with the goal gaping.
St Johnstone did manage to draw level on the half hour mark through their Trinidad and Tobago international striker. A route one clearance from Halliwell found the head of Martin Hardie who flicked the ball into the path of Scotland. The former Dundee United striker did not hesitate as he lashed the ball into the corner of the net.
Disaster struck for the away side in the 44th minute as James clashed with David McKay in the box, leaving the defender with six stitches in a head wound and a damaged medial ligament in his knee.
Tension took over in the second half with very little action in front of goal. Scotland almost nicked all three points for the Saints but the striker's injury time prod towards goal bobbled just inches wide with Craig Wight rooted to the spot.