Match ends, Motherwell 1, St. Mirren 0.
Motherwell had debutant Lee Erwin to thank for all three points as his goal defeated St Mirren at Fir Park.
The Buddies dominated the first half, but none of their efforts troubled Well goalkeeper Dan Twardzik.
However, it was Motherwell who took the lead when Erwin pounced in the box to bundle the ball home.
And the game swung further in the hosts' favour when St Mirren's Jim Goodwin was shown a second yellow card, resulting his dismissal.
The player-coach may have been the pantomime villain, but there was no doubt who the heroes were for the home side, with a sparkling displays from Twardzik and debutant Erwin.
And the goalkeeper's form proved vital behind a vulnerable home defence missing the injured Steven Hammell and Simon Ramsden.
The hosts, who were runners-up in last season's Premiership, had the first chance when Josh Law burst towards goal but Marian Kello easily held the midfielder's weak effort.
However, the Paisley men soon took control in Tommy Craig's first competitive match in charge.
|Top flight finishes||Motherwell||St Mirren|
Twardzik had to react sharply to thwart James Marwood twice in quick succession and the forward also had a header saved following a cross by Gregg Wylde.
The goalkeeper then tipped a John McGinn shot over the bar after Motherwell captain Keith Lasley was caught in possession.
The home side did improve as the half wore on, with Law having a curling effort saved by Kello, but Marwood was again foiled by Twardzik as half-time approached, his weak effort again easily held.
The second half began in much the same vein, with Twardzik making his best save of the game when he tipped an effort from Wylde wide.
St Mirren remained on top but were made to pay for their wastefulness in front of goal when Motherwell took the lead.
Kello parried a powerful effort from Lionel Ainsworth and Erwin was first to react to the rebound and prod the ball home from 10 yards.
Saints fought back, with Jason Naismith having a rasping effort saved and Callum Ball blasting over from 12 yards.
But their hopes dwindled when Goodwin, who picked up a first-half yellow for a challenge on Erwin, was booked again although after the match Craig insisted he did not why the midfielder had received a second caution.
- 6McManusBooked at 31mins
- 18LawSubstituted forLeitchat 89'minutes
- 4McAuslandBooked at 90mins
- 6GoodwinBooked at 73mins
- 16BallSubstituted forCaldwellat 76'minutes
- Calum Murray
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Motherwell 1, St. Mirren 0.
Zaine Francis-Angol (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by John McGinn (St. Mirren).
Marc McAusland (St. Mirren) is shown the yellow card.
Keith Lasley (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by John McGinn (St. Mirren).
Foul by Keith Lasley (Motherwell).
John McGinn (St. Mirren) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Motherwell. Jack Leitch replaces Josh Law because of an injury.
Attempt blocked. Jason Naismith (St. Mirren) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. Ross Caldwell (St. Mirren) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Foul by Lee Erwin (Motherwell).
Marc McAusland (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Stuart Carswell (Motherwell).
John McGinn (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Lee Erwin (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.
John Sutton (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Eli Plummer (St. Mirren).
Corner, St. Mirren. Conceded by Fraser Kerr.