St Johnstone 0-0 East Fife (St Johnstone win 5-4 on penalties)

It was a more than encouraging start to the competitive season for East Fife at McDiarmid Park.
It was a more than encouraging start to the competitive season for East Fife at McDiarmid Park.

If East Fife maintain this level of performance throughout the year they'll have no problem achieving their pre-season ambitions.

Make no mistake, St Johnstone are a club who will have genuine ambitions of winning the Betfred Cup.

But to do so they'll have to get out of the group first, so would have been targeting nothing less than a home win against the League One Methil men.

They came up against an East Fife side though too well drilled and organised to break down, so had to settle for a draw plus a bonus point from their penalty shoot-out win.

Darren Young had his side incredibly well organised and the players themselves deserve massive credit for the way they kept their shape against one of Scotland's best teams.

The 90 minutes ended 0-0, but this was no 'parking the bus', defending in numbers, backs to the wall job from East Fife.

They went toe to toe with Tommy Wright's Saints across the park and posed more than a few problems in attack as well as looking solid at the back.

St Johnstone threw all they had at East Fife but the Bayview side defended really well - particularly at set-pieces.

How often could that be said last season?

Saints started well, keeping East Fife penned into their own half and David McMillan went close after just a few minutes.

Boss Young had spoken in mid-week about making the most of the ball when East Fife eventually won it back.

They almost took their manager to his word on the 20 minute mark.

East Fife had soaked up a lot of Saints pressure but managed to break out of their own half with Craig Thomson scampering down the line.

He fired a terrific cross into the box which Scott McBride met flush, but his header was stopped by Zander Clark.

Moments later another chance fell East Fife’s way as Aaron Dunsmore broke into the box.

But the defender couldn’t make the most of the opening, and sliced his effort high and wide over the bar.

It was all positive stuff from East Fife.

They started to dominate the midfield and a decent cross from Dunsmore just lacked a finish.

Dunsmore turned creator shortly after the hour mark when he sent a looping cross to the St Johnstone back post.

There was McBride waiting but his header looped just over the bar.

The home side had the better of the latter stages but just couldn't break the Methil men down.

The game went to penalties with Thomson having his saved by Zander Clark allowing Drey Wright to net and secure the victory.

Boss Young said: "We had a few good chances and caused them problems as well as limiting them to shots from distance.

"Overall I can't ask for any more and we've set our standards now to go and move in the league cup section and the league.

"We showed the players the shape we were looking and making sure that when we got the ball back we played a good pass to settle ourselves down.

"We did that and had some really good passages of play.

"They were brilliant and I can't fault any one of them."