Scottish Premiership
St Johnstone2Motherwell0

St Johnstone 2-0 Motherwell: Saints secure seventh-place Premiership finish

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Highlights: St Johnstone 2-0 Motherwell

St Johnstone secured seventh place in the Scottish Premiership with a comfortable victory over nearest rivals Motherwell.

Scott Tanser opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Charles Dunne felled Chris Kane.

But the visitors will feel aggrieved after earlier claiming that the left-back had cleared a Gboly Ariyibi shot off the line with his arm.

Murray Davidson's fine finish after the break secured the three points.

It means St Johnstone now have a point more than Hearts - and four clear of Motherwell - but remain below the sixth-top side because of the vagaries of the Premiership split.

Davidson rekindles memories of Gerrard comparison

With Saints going into the game unbeaten in five matches at home and Motherwell without a win in six away games, odds favoured a home win.

But, with both sides among familiar lines despite being held at home last weekend, the settled line-ups produced some enterprising football that belied the match's end-of-season billing.

David Wotherspoon returned to midfield in place of Ross Callachan in Saints' only change, giving Davidson license to bomb forward in support of the home front three - and he was first to threaten with a flicked header.

It rekindled memories of when the 31-year-old first burst on to the scene and was tipped for a big-money move to England following comparisons to Steven Gerrard before a series of serious injuries stunted his progress.

There was no resemblance to namesake Harry as Saints striker Chris Kane somehow headed over from three yards after diving to meet a Matty Kennedy cross.

As Motherwell worked their way into the game, they had already caused some anxious moments by the time Ariyibi's effort was knocked off the line by Tanser before goalkeeper Zander Clark slapped it clear.

The visitors' loud claims for hand ball were waved away by Colin Steven and the referee rubbed salt into their wounds minutes later when he did point to the spot for Dunne's awkward shove in the back as Kane chased a hopeful ball into the Well penalty area and Tanser swept in the spot kick.

Davidson stung goalkeeper Mark Gillespie's fingers with a powerful drive just before the break and Well failed to heed the warning as, on the resumption, the midfielder finished low into the far corner to finish a fine flowing move.

The Saints midfielder went close to a second with a clever stabbed effort that forced a fingertip save by goalkeeper Mark Gillespie.

David Turnbull and Chris Cadden went closest for the visitors and the young Well midfielders have been tipped to realise the kind of glamour move that eluded Davidson.

However, on this day at least, they had to play second fiddle to the man pulling the strings in the home midfield.

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'Half the squad are talking to other clubs'

Referee scrutiny as Turnbull catches eye

BBC Scotland's Brian McLauchlin at McDiarmid Park

Both sets of players could have been excused for having thoughts on where they will spend their summer vacation as there was little at stake other than the £60,000 difference in prize money between finishing seventh and eighth.

However, this was a highly entertaining match with numerous chances created at both ends of the field.

It was also an interesting day for referee Steven, who was taking charge of his first-ever Premiership match. And its fair to say that some of his decisions require close scrutiny.

Particularly so, the one when he denied the visitors what looked like a certain penalty kick when the game was goalless. Tanser certainly appeared to move his arm towards the ball fired in by Ariyibi.

Saints manager Tommy Wright has lowered the average age of his squad this season and, with a few additions in the summer, they will once again be a force to be reckoned with come the new campaign.

Motherwell also have an abundance of youth at their disposal. None more so that Turnbull, who again impressed and it is surely only a matter if time before an English club brings out the cheque book for a teenager who already has the physique for the game down south.

'We have had another really good season' - reaction

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright: "The game had importance.

"It was important we finished seven for reasons well documented. The biggest reason we wanted to be best of the rest.

"It caps off our home campaign and means we have had another really good season."

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson: "We can only worry about the things we can affect. Was it a penalty? He didn't give it but gave the one at the other end which looked soft. It was bad defending as well.

"There has to be an end product and deal with things defensively. St Johnstone do that."

Line-ups

St Johnstone

  • 1Clark
  • 19FosterSubstituted forShaughnessyat 90+1'minutes
  • 15Kerr
  • 23Gordon
  • 3Tanser
  • 10WotherspoonBooked at 90mins
  • 8DavidsonBooked at 29mins
  • 26Craig
  • 33KennedySubstituted forHendryat 68'minutes
  • 9Kane
  • 17O'HalloranSubstituted forSwansonat 79'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Alston
  • 5Shaughnessy
  • 11Swanson
  • 12Bell
  • 22Hendry
  • 24Easton
  • 28Callachan

Motherwell

  • 20GillespieBooked at 34mins
  • 2Tait
  • 5AldredBooked at 70mins
  • 18DunneSubstituted forJohnsonat 57'minutes
  • 14Grimshaw
  • 4McHugh
  • 7CaddenSubstituted forSempleat 82'minutes
  • 8Campbell
  • 28Turnbull
  • 12AriyibiBooked at 21minsSubstituted forHastieat 73'minutes
  • 35Scott

Substitutes

  • 6Hartley
  • 9Main
  • 13Ferguson
  • 22Donnelly
  • 24Johnson
  • 32Hastie
  • 39Semple
Referee:
Colin Steven
Attendance:
3,051

Match Stats

Home TeamSt JohnstoneAway TeamMotherwell
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home10
Away5
Shots on Target
Home5
Away1
Corners
Home3
Away4
Fouls
Home13
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, St. Johnstone 2, Motherwell 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, St. Johnstone 2, Motherwell 0.

Attempt blocked. Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

Booking

David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone).

David Turnbull (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Joe Shaughnessy replaces Richard Foster.

Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by David Turnbull (Motherwell).

Foul by David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone).

Richard Tait (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Scott Tanser.

Foul by Liam Craig (St. Johnstone).

David Turnbull (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Callum Hendry (St. Johnstone).

Tom Aldred (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Jamie Semple replaces Chris Cadden.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Danny Swanson replaces Michael O'Halloran.

Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Allan Campbell (Motherwell).

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Mark Gillespie.

Attempt saved. Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Jake Hastie replaces Gboly Ariyibi.

Attempt missed. Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Attempt missed. Callum Hendry (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

Booking

Tom Aldred (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Tom Aldred (Motherwell).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) because of an injury.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Callum Hendry replaces Matthew Kennedy because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Matthew Kennedy (St. Johnstone) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Chris Cadden (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Scott Tanser (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Danny Johnson (Motherwell).

Jason Kerr (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James Scott (Motherwell).

Foul by Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone).

Danny Johnson (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic36266475175884
2Rangers36229579255475
3Kilmarnock371810948301864
4Aberdeen371971155431264
5Hibernian3714121150371354
6Hearts37156164148-751
7St Johnstone37157153846-852
8Motherwell37146174354-1148
9Livingston371111154041-144
10Hamilton3686222673-4730
11St Mirren3668222964-3526
12Dundee3756262975-4621
View full Scottish Premiership table

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