Scottish Premiership
St Johnstone3Motherwell0

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.

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
  • 24B Easton
  • 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

Match ends, St Johnstone 3, Motherwell 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, St Johnstone 3, Motherwell 0.
Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Stephen McManus.

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.
Steven Anderson (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by John Sutton (Motherwell).
Attempt missed. Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.
Keith Lasley (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Gary Miller (St Johnstone).

Substitution

Substitution, St Johnstone. Chris Millar replaces Lee Croft.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Dale Shirkie replaces Henri Anier.
Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Shaun Hutchinson.
Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Craig Reid.
Attempt saved. Gary McDonald (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt saved. Chris Iwelumo (St Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, St Johnstone. Chris Iwelumo replaces Steven MacLean.
Gary Miller (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by John Sutton (Motherwell).
Attempt missed. David Wotherspoon (St Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

Booking

Lee Croft (St Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Lee Croft (St Johnstone).
Zaine Francis-Angol (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Stephen McManus (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Steven MacLean (St Johnstone).
Foul by Gary McDonald (St Johnstone).
Zaine Francis-Angol (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, St Johnstone. David Wotherspoon replaces Nigel Hasselbaink.
Lee Croft (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by James McFadden (Motherwell).
Gary Miller (St Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by James McFadden (Motherwell).
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Brian Easton.
Attempt saved. Steve May (St Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Foul by Steven MacLean (St Johnstone).
Zaine Francis-Angol (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by David Mackay (St Johnstone).
John Sutton (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Lee Croft (St Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Henri Anier (Motherwell).
Attempt saved. Lee Croft (St Johnstone) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is saved in the centre of the goal.
Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Craig Reid.
Steven MacLean (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Stephen McManus (Motherwell).

Second Half

Second Half begins St Johnstone 2, Motherwell 0.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Lionel Ainsworth replaces Iain Vigurs.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. James McFadden replaces Steven Hammell.

Half Time

First Half ends, St Johnstone 2, Motherwell 0.
Steve May (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell).
Attempt missed. Stephen McManus (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.
Foul by Gary Miller (St Johnstone).
Zaine Francis-Angol (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Gary McDonald (St Johnstone).
Craig Reid (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Steve May (St Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Steve May (St Johnstone).
Craig Reid (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by James Dunne (St Johnstone).
Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
James Dunne (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by John Sutton (Motherwell).
goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Celtic2723314972
2Aberdeen2716381351
3Motherwell261529047
4Inverness CT2513571244
5Dundee Utd2611871541
6St Johnstone2610511435
7Hibernian268810-532
8Kilmarnock277614-1227
9Partick Thistle2751012-1625
10Ross County277416-1725
11St Mirren276615-1924
12Hearts275616-246
View full Scottish Premiership table

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