Scottish Premiership
St JohnstoneSt Johnstone2MotherwellMotherwell0

St Johnstone 2-0 Motherwell

By Colin MoffatBBC Scotland

St Johnstone moved into the top half of the Scottish Premiership with a convincing win over Motherwell.

Stevie May forced in a close-range shot after the break as the Perth side dominated from start to finish.

And Nigel Hasselbaink profited from Gunnar Nielson's goalkeeping blunder to curl a strike into an unguarded net.

Motherwell offered next to nothing in attack and Saints wasted several opportunities to make their victory more emphatic.

The Steelmen, who remain fourth in the table, had won six of the previous eight meetings between the sides but were completely out of sorts as the wind and rain battered McDiarmid Park.

St Johnstone enjoyed the lion's share of possession and Paddy Cregg curled a shot off target before a David Wotherspoon near-post header was bundled out for a corner by a defender.

With Frazer Wright suspended, Steven Anderson injured and new signing Sanel Jahic lacking in fitness, the home defence consisted of four players who have all been used as full-backs in recent seasons.

The aerial threat of John Sutton must have been a worry for Saints boss Tommy Wright but the Motherwell striker was wayward with the only chance that came his way.

Simon Ramsden's deep cross found the head of the Englishman who could only head wide from 10 yards.

May failed to hit the target as he thrashed in an angled shot from right edge of penalty box and Wotherspoon let fly with a strike from 25 yards that skidded past Nielson's post.

Gary McDonald then stabbed a loose ball wide on the turn from close range at a corner and the interval came soon after a neatly-worked set-piece from the hosts.

Wotherspoon cleverly drilled a free-kick to May near penalty spot but the striker's first-time shot was diverted wide by defender Stephen McManus.

The second half was just two minutes old when the deadlock was broken, with May on hand to ram the ball into the net after Nielson had clawed away an acrobatic hooked shot from McDonald.

The advantage should have been doubled moments later as Gary Miller's miscued header flew over, with Nielson all over the place from Wotherspoon's excellent corner.

Motherwell wasted a great chance to level when Shaun Hutchinson's close-range header went straight into arms of Alan Mannus but Nielson remained the busier of the goalkeepers.

The Faroe Islander pushed away a rising shot from Chris Millar before he was left red-faced as Hasselbaink scored Saints' second.

Ramsden was heavy and wide with a pass-back and Nielson slipped trying to kick clear from the byeline, allowing the Dutch forward to curl a shot into an empty net from the left of the penalty area.

Hasselbaink then spurned an easier chance after a clumsy touch let him down right in front of goal.

Motherwell substitute Craig Moore sent in a raking strike that had Mannus scrambling before another terrible pass-back had Nielson in trouble.

Under pressure from May, the keeper's panicked clearance landed at the feet of Wotherspoon but the midfielder delayed his shot and his effort was headed clear by a covering defender.

The weather may have been grim but the majority of the 2,449 fans who braved the elements will have gone home warmed by St Johnstone's fourth home win of the campaign.


St Johnstone

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Mannus
  • 19MillerBooked at 61mins
  • 24Easton
  • 4CreggSubstituted forDavidsonat 71'minutes
  • 2Mackay
  • 3Scobbie
  • 7Millar
  • 8McDonald
  • 17May
  • 11HasselbainkSubstituted forCaddisat 78'minutes
  • 10WotherspoonSubstituted forEdwardsat 86'minutes


  • 14Edwards
  • 15Banks
  • 16Caddis
  • 18Davidson
  • 20Brown
  • 25Jahic
  • 27Fallon


Formation 4-5-1

  • 12Nielsen
  • 4Ramsden
  • 3HammellBooked at 90mins
  • 8LawsonBooked at 80mins
  • 5Hutchinson
  • 6McManus
  • 11VigursSubstituted forMooreat 67'minutes
  • 14Lasley
  • 9Sutton
  • 18CarswellSubstituted forFrancis-Angolat 65'minutes
  • 16McHugh


  • 15Cummins
  • 17Francis-Angol
  • 20Kerr
  • 21Stewart
  • 22Moore
  • 24Anier
  • 25Ainsworth
Calum Murray

Match Stats

Home TeamSt JohnstoneAway TeamMotherwell
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, St Johnstone 2, Motherwell 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, St Johnstone 2, Motherwell 0.

  3. Post update

    David Mackay (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by John Sutton (Motherwell).

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. John Sutton (Motherwell) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Steve May (St Johnstone).

  7. Post update

    Simon Ramsden (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  8. Booking

    Steven Hammell (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

  9. Post update

    Murray Davidson (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Steven Hammell (Motherwell).

  11. Post update

    Gary Miller (St Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Zaine Francis-Angol (Motherwell).

  13. Post update

    Gary McDonald (St Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Simon Ramsden (Motherwell).

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, St Johnstone. Gwion Edwards replaces David Wotherspoon.

  16. Booking

    Paul Lawson (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

  17. Post update

    David Wotherspoon (St Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Paul Lawson (Motherwell).

  19. Post update

    Steve May (St Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Paul Lawson (Motherwell).

As It Stood

3Inverness CT106131610619
5Dundee Utd11443168816
6St Johnstone114341713415
8Partick Thistle113441113-213
9Ross County103161119-810
11St Mirren10226920-118
View full Scottish Premiership table

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