Scottish Football: Saints pay the penalty

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OF THE four clubs seeking to avoid relegation, St Johnstone drew the short straw and lost their Premier Division status by an agonisingly narrow margin, effectively finishing two goals short of safety at the end of a 44-game marathon, writes David McKinney.

Their fate was sealed elsewhere as they were taking care of their own business by beating Motherwell 1-0 at Fir Park, with a goal by John Inglis, his first in the league for three and a half years.

The Saints fans, who widely celebrated that goal, had their hopes dashed when news of both Kilmarnock's draw at Easter Road and Partick Thistle's single-goal defeat at Hearts filtered through. For Paul Sturrock, the St Johnstone manager, the summer will now be spent trying to persuade his top players to stay with the club.

Saints will join Dundee and Raith Rovers in the First Division, while Falkirk move up to the Premier, having held off the challenge of Dunfermline for the single promotion spot with a 1-1 draw at Clydebank as the Pars were hammering Clyde 5-0 at East End Park.

Even one goal would have been welcomed at Ibrox, where Rangers celebrated their sixth successive title triumph after a dull 0-0 draw with Dundee. Rangers, who face Dundee United in the Scottish Cup final on Saturday, are without a win in their last five games.