Scottish Premiership
MotherwellMotherwell2St JohnstoneSt Johnstone1

Motherwell 2-1 St Johnstone

By John BarnesBBC Scotland at Fir Park

Stephen McManus's fourth goal of the season secured a win for Motherwell to virtually ensure they will be playing European football again next season.

Lionel Ainsworth's cross evaded goalkeeper Alan Mannus to put the Steelmen in front but Dave Mackay headed Saints level.

But McManus's headed goal 11 minutes before the interval ensured three points for the Fir Park side.

And victory puts Well one point behind second-place Aberdeen.

The result also brings to an end Saints' unbeaten run with the Perth side suffering their first defeat in eight matches.

The first early chance fell the way of the home side with their skipper Keith Lasley firing a shot over the bar from the edge of the box.

It was a positive start from Motherwell and with their next effort James McFadden should have done better than shoot weakly at Mannus following a fine passing move.

St Johnstone were on the back foot but they did look dangerous on the counter attack and when David Wotherspoon sent Stevie May away he made a poor connection to send his shot wide.

Ainsworth was next to threaten the Saints' goal with a powerful strike and goalkeeper Alan Mannus was relieved to push the ball to safety.

Lionel Ainsworth scores for Motherwell against St Johnstone
Ainsworth's cross found its way into the net

However, Mannus was soon a frustrated man when Ainsworth's cross from the right curled over the keeper before nestling in the net.

The lead was short-lived though, Mackay equalising with a free header from Wotherspoon's corner.

Freedom in the opposition penalty box was evident again when Motherwell took advantage to regain the lead.

McManus was the unmarked man on this occasion with the defender directing a header goalward from a Vigurs free-kick.

Steven Anderson tried to stop it with his hand but the ball crossed the line. After a short delay, referee Kevin Clancy awarded the goal and booked Anderson to further upset the visitors.

St Johnstone enjoyed more of the possession early in the second half but were slightly over elaborate in the build-up around the edge of the Motherwell penalty area.

May turned inside Lasley as the Motherwell skipper looked to challenge and the striker went down looking for a penalty. The referee went to his pocket for the yellow card and it was the Saints player who was booked for simulation.

Wotherspoon fired an effort narrowly wide before Well came close to adding a third through substitute Henri Anier, whose strike took the slightest of deflections to steer it wide of the post.



Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Hollis
  • 2Reid
  • 3Hammell
  • 14Lasley
  • 5HutchinsonBooked at 64mins
  • 6McManus
  • 25Ainsworth
  • 11Vigurs
  • 7McFaddenSubstituted forAnierat 70'minutes
  • 9Sutton
  • 17Francis-AngolSubstituted forKerrat 75'minutes


  • 12Nielsen
  • 20Kerr
  • 22Moore
  • 23Murray
  • 24Anier
  • 26Leitch
  • 30Thomas

St Johnstone

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Mannus
  • 19Miller
  • 24EastonBooked at 43mins
  • 10WotherspoonSubstituted forHasselbainkat 81'minutes
  • 2MackayBooked at 36mins
  • 6Anderson
  • 7Millar
  • 12DunneSubstituted forMcDonaldat 86'minutes
  • 9MacLean
  • 17MayBooked at 60mins
  • 29O'HalloranSubstituted forCroftat 69'minutes


  • 4Cregg
  • 8McDonald
  • 11Hasselbaink
  • 15Banks
  • 22Croft
  • 23Clancy
  • 25Iwelumo
Kevin Clancy

Match Stats

Home TeamMotherwellAway TeamSt Johnstone
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Motherwell 2, St Johnstone 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Motherwell 2, St Johnstone 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Craig Reid.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell).

  5. Post update

    Nigel Hasselbaink (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Hand ball by Steve May (St Johnstone).

  7. Post update

    Foul by John Sutton (Motherwell).

  8. Post update

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

  9. Post update

    Attempt saved. Gary Miller (St Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  10. Post update

    Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Chris Millar (St Johnstone).

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, St Johnstone. Gary McDonald replaces James Dunne.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Steven Anderson.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Henri Anier (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Fraser Kerr (Motherwell).

  16. Post update

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

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, St Johnstone. Nigel Hasselbaink replaces David Wotherspoon.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Steve May (St Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Motherwell. Fraser Kerr replaces Zaine Francis-Angol.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Henri Anier (Motherwell).