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Tommy Wright's Saint Johnstone go marching on

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright insists referee John McKendrick got the controversial free-kick decision correct that led to Gary McDonald's injury-time winner against Morton.

The 1-0 victory sent former Northern Ireland keeper Wright's side into the semi-finals of the Scottish League Cup.

The game looked to be heading to extra-time when McKendrick ordered a Stevie May free-kick to be taken again in the third minute of added time for encroachment by Greenock forward Nacho Novo who was booked for his troubles.

May's second effort from 25 yards was spilled by Morton keeper Nicolas Caraux and McDonald pounced to bundle the ball over the line.

Saints – who include Northern Ireland keeper Alan Mannus in their line-up – go into the draw today with Inverness, Aberdeen and Hearts.

Wright said: "He (Novo) was too close to the ball, that's what the players were saying – I haven't seen it.

"Nigel Hasselbaink was booked for leading with his arm and another player wasn't so there are things given and not given.

"(Morton manager) Allan (Moore) will have a different perspective but if he is too close to the ball he is too close to the ball and the referee has to give it.

"They have a difficult job to do. I think they handled the game well."

The Greenock side went into the game bottom of the Championship and without a win since causing the surprise of the competition by knocking out Celtic at Parkhead in the last round.

Meanwhile, Ryan Stevenson was the hero as he fired Hearts into the last four with victory over Hibernian.

For the second time this season, administration-hit Hearts claimed a 1-0 win over their Edinburgh rivals. Hibs had skipper and Northern Ireland defender James McPake sent off late on.

The result will heap more pressure on under-fire boss Pat Fenlon.

Aberdeen continued their resurgence as late goals from Andrew Considine and Jonny Hayes sent them into the semi-finals with a 2-0 win at Motherwell.

Belfast Telegraph


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