Scottish Premiership
St Johnstone2Motherwell1

Scottish Premiership: St Johnstone 2-1 Motherwell

Tam Scobbie (centre)
Tam Scobbie (centre) headed a late winner for St Johnstone

Tam Scobbie's late header returned St Johnstone to the top six and left Motherwell reeling in their bid to escape the bottom of the Premiership.

Louis Moult put the visitors in front when he was left unmarked in the middle of the box and headed into the net.

David Wotherspoon drew Saints level when he cut inside and hit a sweet strike off the inside of the near post.

Liam Craig and Graham Cummins both went close before Scobbie headed in a late winner for Tommy Wright's men.

There was little between the sides, with both seeming tense and conservative with so much at stake at this stage in the season.

There was a grim fascination to the way that these two sides - both containing players capable of imagination and verve - so assiduously subdued each other. The industry was relentless, but it seldom flowed with confidence or aplomb.

Motherwell endured a set-back even before kick-off, when Scott McDonald was ruled out after being named in the starting line-up. He was replaced by Wes Fletcher, and the visitors were denied the darting, and often cantankerous, menace that McDonald provides up front.

James McFadden (left) and Louis Moult
Louis Moult (right) gave Motherwell the lead in the first half

Even so, through sheer diligence alone they carved out the opening goal. It came from a corner kick, which had always seemed their most likely route to a breakthrough on a bobbly, often unpredictable playing surface.

James McFadden was entrusted with the deliveries, although he failed to keep one corner kick in play and swung his fist at the corner flag in frustration. His next attempt was accurate enough, though, as his ball into the six-yard box was met by Moult's leap, and the striker steered his header into the net.

St Johnstone were roused by the goal, and perhaps also by the growing sense of discontent from the home fans, with the team having failed to win in seven league games. Craig ought to have equalised, but sent his first-time effort from Wotherspoon's cross high over the bar.

Moments later, Wotherspoon took responsibility himself. From a throw-in, the ball was worked to him and he skelped a shot at goal that swerved in mid-air to wrong-foot the Motherwell goalkeeper Connor Ripley.

Mark McGhee switched from the 3-4-1-2 formation that he started with to a back four at half-time, bringing Stevie Hammell off the bench. It did not greatly alter the nature of the game, although the visitors were the first to threaten after the break when Hammell's free-kick was headed over by Moult.

Tommy Wright used his substitutions to move to having two strikers upfront, bringing Cummins and John Sutton off the bench. That provided some impetus, and Murray Davidson ran into the space behind them only to hit a tame effort at Ripley. Moments later, Craig met Wotherspoon's delivery but sent his effort across goal and wide.

The game seemed destined to finish 1-1, but there was still time for Scobbie to deliver a decisive blow,

Line-ups

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 22FisherBooked at 60mins
  • 14Shaughnessy
  • 6Anderson
  • 3ScobbieBooked at 84mins
  • 7Millar
  • 8Davidson
  • 26CraigSubstituted forLappinat 80'minutes
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 27ThomsonSubstituted forCumminsat 65'minutes
  • 9MacLeanSubstituted forSuttonat 71'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Lappin
  • 5Doyle
  • 11Sutton
  • 12Clark
  • 16Swanson
  • 18Cummins
  • 25Kane

Motherwell

  • 1Ripley
  • 5Laing
  • 6McManus
  • 32HallBooked at 90mins
  • 26Cadden
  • 14Lasley
  • 17GomisSubstituted forPearsonat 64'minutes
  • 11Johnson
  • 9FletcherSubstituted forAinsworthat 79'minutes
  • 24McFaddenSubstituted forHammellat 45'minutes
  • 20Moult

Substitutes

  • 3Hammell
  • 7Ainsworth
  • 8Pearson
  • 13Samson
  • 15Chalmers
  • 18Law
  • 21Leitch
Referee:
Bobby Madden
Attendance:
3,006

Match Stats

Home TeamSt JohnstoneAway TeamMotherwell
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home12
Away8
Shots on Target
Home4
Away2
Corners
Home3
Away5
Fouls
Home12
Away23

Live Text

Match ends, St. Johnstone 2, Motherwell 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, St. Johnstone 2, Motherwell 1.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Ben Hall.

Steven Anderson (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Marvin Johnson (Motherwell).

Goal!

Goal! St. Johnstone 2, Motherwell 1. Tam Scobbie (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Simon Lappin following a set piece situation.

Booking

Ben Hall (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

John Sutton (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ben Hall (Motherwell).

Foul by Graham Cummins (St. Johnstone).

Stephen McManus (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Darnell Fisher (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Louis Moult (Motherwell).

Booking

Tam Scobbie (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Tam Scobbie (St. Johnstone).

Chris Cadden (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Graham Cummins (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Foul by Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone).

Louis Laing (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Simon Lappin replaces Liam Craig.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Lionel Ainsworth replaces Wes Fletcher.

Attempt missed. Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

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

Foul by Keith Lasley (Motherwell).

Dangerous play by Chris Millar (St. Johnstone).

Chris Cadden (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Stephen Pearson (Motherwell).

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

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. John Sutton replaces Steven MacLean.

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

Foul by Keith Lasley (Motherwell).

Attempt missed. Graham Cummins (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Attempt missed. Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from long range on the right misses to the right.

Attempt saved. Wes Fletcher (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Graham Cummins replaces Craig Thomson.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Stephen Pearson replaces Morgaro Gomis.

Attempt blocked. Chris Cadden (Motherwell) right footed shot from more than 40 yards on the left wing is blocked.

Dangerous play by Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone).

Keith Lasley (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic26194369214861
2Aberdeen26174545291655
3Hearts25128546262044
4Ross County27113134243-136
5St Johnstone25105104141035
6Dundee2681083941-234
7Inverness CT258893336-332
8Motherwell2785143043-1329
9Hamilton2778123147-1629
10Partick Thistle237792228-628
11Kilmarnock2777132948-1928
12Dundee Utd2645172650-2417
View full Scottish Premiership table

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