SPL Round 38 Results: St Johnstone snatch a European place as Inverness CT fall to defeat in the Highland derby

Celtic and Hibernian prepare for the cup final with wins, Hearts' fate in the balance despite point at Aberdeen and St Mirren break their miserable run with a triumph at Kilmarnock

Round 38 Results

An own goal by Hearts defender Jamie Hamill helped Derek McInnes to see out the season undefeated as new Aberdeen boss.

The former St Johnstone manager took over from Craig Brown at the start of the bottom half split and is yet to taste defeat as Dons gaffer.

The visitors don’t know whether or not they will be playing SPL football next season after owner Vladimir Romanov’s company UBIG asked to be made insolvent, with an SPL meeting on Monday set to decide their fate.

And they nearly found themselves behing several times in the first half, as Josh Magennis, Niall McGinn, Cammy Smith and Jonny Hayes all had efforts at goal, but none of them could find a way past Jamie MacDonald in the Hearts goal.

Gary Locke’s side took a shock lead at the start of the second half, as Ryan Stevenson was left unmarked in the middle of the Aberdeen penalty area to power a header from a David Smith corner from the left past Jamie Langfield.

Aberdeen got level due to some good luck. Hayes made his way down the right-hand side of the box and when his cross was missed by Declan McManus, Hamill inexplicitly slid in to divert the ball into his own net. 
A header late in the second half from David Wotherspoon helped make it three wins on the bounce for Hibernian as they saw off bottom side Dundee.

Pat Fenlon’s side now go into their Scottish Cup final clash with Celtic next Sunday in confident fashion as they look to take the trophy back to Leith for the first time in 111 years.

Dundee will have to wait until Monday and a decision from the SPL board regarding the situation with Hearts as to whether they will remain an SPL side or return to the First Division after a single season in the top flight.

On-loan Wolves striker Leigh Griffiths had the majority of the chances for Hibs in the opening half, but the 22-year-old couldn’t find the back of the net to add to his 28 goals in all competitions this season.

The winner came with 11 minutes left in the game as Lewis Stevenson played a cross from the left that found substitute Wotherspoon on the edge of the Dundee penalty area and he managed to divert his header beyond Steve Simonsen in the Dundee goal.
St Mirren got back to winning ways to finish off the season as they recorded their first win in eight games by defeating Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

Goals from John McGinn, a Paul McGowan penalty and a late Conor Newton strike sent all three points back up the road to Paisley despite Kris Boyd's sole strike for the hosts.

The Saints struck their first with 20 minutes on the clock as a superbly lofted ball from the right wing by Newton found McGinn lurking at the back post and the young midfielder had no trouble opening the scoring.

Five minutes later Kilmarnock were back on level terms as Boyd broke the St Mirren offside trap to get on the end of a Borja Perez pass and slot the ball under Rugby Park-bound stopper Craig Samson.

With quarter of an hour left in game Kilmarnock handed the lead to their visitors as Lee Ashcroft made a clumsy challenge inside the box with saw substitute Anton Brady fall to the floor, allowing McGowan to step up and fire home the resulting penalty.

The three points were secured with two minutes remaining, as Newton picked up a pass from McGinn and was allowed to waltz by two home defenders before slotting the ball under Rangers-bound keeper Cammy Bell.
A strike before half-time by Canada international Andre Hainault handed Ross County their first Highland derby victory of the season, defeating Inverness CT.

The loss in Dingwall sees Terry Butcher’s side fall from third place and fail in their quest to reach the Europa League after St Johnstone’s victory over Motherwell.

Both sets of players failed maintain control of possession in the opening stages due to the state of the pitch at the Global Energy Stadium and that saw them fail to get shots on target and trouble either keeper.

Stuart Kettlewell had a chance to put the home side into the lead after being set-up by Mihael Kovacevic, but his 25-yard effort went just wide of Antonio Reguero's goal.

Then, as the first half edged towards the end, Ross County took the lead when a cross from Paul Lawson was partially cleared by Josh Meekings, but it arrived at the feet of Hainault, who rifled the ball beyond Paul Gallacher.

Inverness CT had efforts from Aaron Doran, Billy McKay and Andrew Shinnie in the second half, but none of them could find a way back into the game and get further towards their dream of European football.
St Johnstone stole third place on the last day of the season as goals from Liam Craig and Nigel Hasslebaink secured a victory over Motherwell.

The home side were in control throughout the game, with Chris Millar the recipient of a couple of chances to get the Perth side into the lead in the opening stages.

With nine minutes remaining in the first half, St Johnstone took the lead as Craig, who will leave the club for Hibernian in the summer, picked the ball up midway in the Motherwell half and smashed an effort past Lee Hollis.

Steve Lomas’ side doubled their lead two minutes into the second half, as Hasselbaink received possession from Dave Mackay and spun his marker before drilling the ball into the back of the net to seal the Perth side’s place in Europe.