Match ends, Motherwell 1, St. Johnstone 2.
St Johnstone took a major step towards securing fourth place in the Scottish Premiership as they came from behind to defeat fifth-placed Motherwell.
Well took an early lead after Scott McDonald took advantage of a defensive mistake to score.
St Johnstone equalised through striker Steven MacLean. Like McDonald, it was his 14th goal of the season.
Just before half-time, Danny Swanson slotted home from close range for the Saints to secure a significant victory.
The result means the Perth side have a five-point lead over Motherwell with only two games left to play.
Motherwell were gifted the perfect start when goalkeeper Zander Clark sliced his clearance from a back pass right into the path of McDonald, who headed into an empty net.
St Johnstone almost equalised from a training ground free-kick. Brian Easton played the ball sideways to Liam Craig, who curled in an effort from 25 yards that came back off the post.
Up at the other end, Chris Cadden had a chance from close-range following a knockdown from Louis Moult, but his effort was weak and Clark was able to gather.
Marvin Johnson then loped forward from his left-back berth into the St Johnstone penalty area.
His cutback found the feet of McDonald, but the Australian striker lashed his shot wide of the target.
St Johnstone left-back Easton would have better luck. His cross was met at the back post by MacLean, who supplied the perfect finish to bury the ball into the corner of the net.
The Perth outfit took the lead just before half-time. David Wotherspoon's cross found Swanson with time and space in the box and the midfielder calmly slotted the ball home.
Just after the break, McDonald fired just wide of the post as Motherwell searched for an equaliser.
Joe Shaughnessy headed over the bar as St Johnstone set about stretching their lead.
Motherwell goalkeeper Connor Ripley then had to make a decent diving save to deny a low, drilled effort from Wotherspoon.
There was plenty of Motherwell pressure, but too few clear-cut chances, as St Johnstone held on for a hugely valuable three points.
- 7AinsworthSubstituted forThomasat 59'minutes
- 14LasleySubstituted forChalmersat 53'minutes
- 8PearsonBooked at 67mins
- 11JohnsonSubstituted forLeitchat 84'minutesBooked at 89mins
- 22FisherBooked at 39mins
- 18CumminsSubstituted forKaneat 74'minutes
- 16SwansonSubstituted forScobbieat 80'minutes
- 8DavidsonSubstituted forBrownat 39'minutes
- Greg Aitken
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Motherwell 1, St. Johnstone 2.
Attempt missed. Scott McDonald (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.
Foul by Tam Scobbie (St. Johnstone).
Marvin Johnson (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Jack Leitch (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Brian Easton (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Jack Leitch (Motherwell).
Attempt missed. Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the left.
Substitution, Motherwell. Jack Leitch replaces Marvin Johnson.
Darnell Fisher (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Stephen Pearson (Motherwell).
Substitution, St. Johnstone. Tam Scobbie replaces Danny Swanson.
Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Louis Moult (Motherwell).
Attempt missed. Marvin Johnson (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Substitution, St. Johnstone. Christopher Kane replaces Graham Cummins.
Attempt missed. Chris Cadden (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.
Stephen Pearson (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Steven MacLean.