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Oran Kearney: I took Simeon Jackson off penalty duty

Oran Kearney revealed he took the penalty pressure off Simeon Jackson’s shoulders by deciding Anders Dreyer should take over the spot-kick duties against Hamilton.

The St Mirren boss let rip at the striker last week after his poor ‘Panenka’ attempt cost them a result against St Johnstone.

Jackson insisted he was ready to step up again in a bid to make up for his scuffed chip at McDiarmid Park.

But Kearney decided on-loan Brighton ace Dreyer would be the man on the spot if they got a penalty against Accies.

And it paid off as the young Dane fired home from 12 yards to hand Saints a relegation lifeline by cancelling out Steve Davies’ opener.

The 1-1 draw at the Hope Stadium means second-bottom St Mirren remain four points behind Brian Rice’s team with five games to play, but they have moved three clear of basement boys Dundee.

“I spoke to Simeon about it,” said Kearney. “With the magnitude of the game and atmosphere, when we win that penalty if I’d left him on it the grumbles start through our massive crowd.

“You want to strip it back and have as little baggage.

“Anders has hit many penalties in his short career. I followed him from Denmark and last season he scored 22 goals for Esbjerg to get them promoted and six or seven were penalties.

“So even though he’s 20, he’s hit some big penalties. I spoke to him earlier in the week and said I wasn’t forcing him to take them but he was more than happy.

“He was never missing it for me. There was a lot of confidence and he stroked it away superbly.”

Dreyer has taken his time to adjust to life in Paisley after making a January loan switch from the Amex but Kearney hopes he can now make a big contribution as the race for survival gets set to go to the wire.

“He’s starting to come on now,” said the Northern Irishman. “He left Denmark for Brighton, spent five or six months down there then came here.

“We’ve been very good to him and we’ve noticed a big difference in him and how happy he is in the environment. The happier he becomes the more we will see of him.”

Davies swept in off the post after a terrific cross from Tony Andreu on 63 minutes – but the lead lasted just three more as Dreyer dusted himself down to score after being fouled by Ziggy Gordon in the box.

Saints keeper Vaclav Hladky rescued his team with two vital injury-time saves and Accies boss Rice admitted: “I’m not happy with a point.

“I want to win the home games but we’ve a good record here since I joined and only Rangers have beaten us.

“We’ve got a point more than before and we’re a point further in front of Dundee with one less to play. It’s all to play for.

“You saw St Mirren, they’re not down and out and neither are we. It’ll be nip and tuck.”