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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 April 2007, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Hamilton Accies 3-4 St Johnstone
St Johnstone midfielder Peter MacDonald
Saints title hopes were undone by Gretna's late win
St Johnstone were cruelly denied promotion to the SPL after a final day of nerve-jangling drama.

Saints swept into a three-goal lead through Kevin James, Martin Hardie and a cool solo effort from Jason Scotland.

Hamilton pulled one back through James McCarthy just before the break and Richard Offiong made it 3-2.

Hardie grabbed his second before Brian Wake's goal set up a tense finale but news then filtered through of Gretna's last-gasp win to crush Saints' dreams.

In front of a record crowd of 4,975 at New Douglas Park Saints had a storming start to the game and created several chances before James headed in a Paul Sheerin corner after 23 minutes.

A similar move nine minutes later doubled their lead when Hardie headed in after a James flick.

Jason Scotland ran on to a great through-ball from Peter Macdonald to net a third for the Perth side.

Highly-coveted teenager McCarthy pulled one back for Hamilton with a superb left-footed shot in the 40th minute.

Offiong made it 3-2 with a stunning 20-yard drive after 71 minutes as Hamilton continued to fight back.

However Hardie added his second goal of the afternoon following a Scotland pass, with substitute Brian Wake scoring a late third for Hamilton,

But it was the late Gretna winner against Ross County which broke St Johnstone hearts.

Hamilton: Murdoch, Parratt, Swales, McLauchlan (Winters 46), Easton, McCarthy, Wilson (Gilhaney 68), Gibson, McArthur, Offiong, McLeod (Wake 72).

Subs Not Used: McJimpsey, Jellema. Booked: McArthur.

Goals: McCarthy 40, Offiong 71, Wake 88.

St Johnstone: Cuthbert, Anderson, Lawrie, James, Stanic, Sheerin (McLaren 49), McInnes, Hardie, Mensing, MacDonald (Lilley 56), Scotland.

Subs Not Used: Jackson, Morais, Halliwell.

Goals: James 23, Hardie 32, Scotland 38, Hardie 81.

Att: 4,975.

Ref: C Hardie (Scotland).


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