Scottish Premiership
St JohnstoneSt Johnstone3MotherwellMotherwell0

St Johnstone 3-0 Motherwell

Steven MacLean scored twice on his return from knee surgery as St Johnstone beat Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership.

The experienced striker tapped home early on after Gunnar Nielsen had fumbled Stevie May's shot.

And MacLean netted his second from a Brian Easton cross before the half-time interval.

Gary Miller meandered forward to fire Saints' third from a difficult angle late on.

The win gives Tommy Wright's side a three-point advantage over seventh-place Hibernian, while Motherwell are now four behind Aberdeen, who are second.

John Sutton and Steven Anderson
Saints ran out convincing winners in Perth

It was the visitors who threatened first, Henri Anier spinning away from Steven Anderson and sending a shot just wide.

MacLean was making his first appearance since October and his comeback was given an instant boost when he netted the opening goal.

Nielsen should have dealt with May's 30-yard free-kick but his attempts to gather the ball ran straight into MacLean's path, leaving him a simple finish.

St Johnstone were in the ascendancy but a rare foray forward from Motherwell led to a finger-tip save as goalkeeper Alan Mannus denied Iain Vigurs.

Easton's deep delivery caused problems for the 'Well defence and MacLean got to it before Shaun Hutchinson to force the second goal.

Stuart McCall's men had the chance to pull one back before half-time when a Vigurs free-kick picked out Stephen McManus unmarked but the defender skewed wide from close range.

And McCall took action at the break, sending on James McFadden and Lionel Ainsworth in place of Stevie Hammell and Vigurs.

However, it was Saints who were the more eager at the start of the second period with May and David Wotherspoon drawing saves from Nielsen.

MacLean was applauded off the park by the home fans as he made way for Chris Iwelumo and the substitute shot straight at Nielsen from Wotherspoon's pass moments after coming on.

It looked as though there would be no further scoring until Miller burst forward to net his first goal of the season and round off a fine evening's work for the Perth side.

Line-ups

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 19Miller
  • 24Easton
  • 8McDonald
  • 2Mackay
  • 6Anderson
  • 22CroftBooked at 67minsSubstituted forMillarat 81'minutes
  • 12Dunne
  • 9MacLeanSubstituted forIwelumoat 72'minutes
  • 17MayBooked at 41mins
  • 11HasselbainkSubstituted forWotherspoonat 64'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Cregg
  • 7Millar
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 15Banks
  • 25Iwelumo
  • 29O'Halloran
  • 38Gilchrist

Motherwell

  • 12Nielsen
  • 2Reid
  • 3HammellSubstituted forMcFaddenat 45'minutes
  • 14Lasley
  • 5Hutchinson
  • 6McManus
  • 24AnierSubstituted forShirkieat 80'minutes
  • 11VigursSubstituted forAinsworthat 45'minutes
  • 9Sutton
  • 18Carswell
  • 17Francis-Angol

Substitutes

  • 1Hollis
  • 7McFadden
  • 23Murray
  • 25Ainsworth
  • 26Leitch
  • 29Shirkie
  • 34Cadden
Referee:
Kevin Clancy
Attendance:
1,892

Match Stats

Home TeamSt JohnstoneAway TeamMotherwell
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home9
Away4
Shots on Target
Home7
Away1
Corners
Home10
Away2
Fouls
Home17
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, St Johnstone 3, Motherwell 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, St Johnstone 3, Motherwell 0.

  3. Post update

    Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Stephen McManus.

  4. Goal!

    Goal! St Johnstone 3, Motherwell 0. Gary Miller (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the top left corner.

  5. Post update

    Steven Anderson (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by John Sutton (Motherwell).

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

  8. Post update

    Keith Lasley (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Gary Miller (St Johnstone).

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, St Johnstone. Chris Millar replaces Lee Croft.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Motherwell. Dale Shirkie replaces Henri Anier.

  12. Post update

    Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Shaun Hutchinson.

  13. Post update

    Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Craig Reid.

  14. Post update

    Attempt saved. Gary McDonald (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  15. Post update

    Attempt saved. Chris Iwelumo (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, St Johnstone. Chris Iwelumo replaces Steven MacLean.

  17. Post update

    Gary Miller (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by John Sutton (Motherwell).

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. David Wotherspoon (St Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

  20. Booking

    Lee Croft (St Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic27233163144972
2Aberdeen27163839261351
3Motherwell2615293939047
4Inverness CT25135733211244
5Dundee Utd26118746311541
6St Johnstone26105113430435
7Hibernian2688102429-532
8Kilmarnock2776143345-1227
9Partick Thistle27510122844-1625
10Ross County2774163249-1725
11St Mirren2766152544-1924
12Hearts2756162246-246
View full Scottish Premiership table

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