Scottish Premiership
Motherwell4St Johnstone0

Motherwell 4-0 St Johnstone: Home side heap more misery on Tommy Wright's side

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Highlights: Motherwell 4-0 St Johnstone

Motherwell responded to successive defeats as they heaped more misery on bottom-of-the-table St Johnstone.

After losses to Celtic and Hibernian, Stephen Robinson's side were clinical as they thumped the visitors at Fir Park and got back to winning ways.

Devante Cole, Peter Hartley and Jake Carroll all scored after set-pieces caused problems in the Perth defence.

And Christy Manzinga scored late on on his Motherwell debut after coming off the bench to put a seal on the win.

St Johnstone had chances with Matty Kennedy, in particular, going close.

But, after an encouraging run of seven points from 12, Tommy Wright's side stay at the foot of the Scottish Premiership on goal difference.

Meanwhile Motherwell kept third place within their sights ahead of Wednesday's visit to St Mirren, while St Johnstone travel to Kilmarnock.

Perfect day for Motherwell

In the beautiful, crisp winter sunshine, you could not help but hope the perfect day would give rise to the perfect game of football. But it was more hope than expectation - the previous match between the sides in Perth had been something of a football carbuncle.

The first 15 minutes promised little. A bleak expanse of nothingness. St Johnstone looked the more likely, but there was nothing much worth scribbling about.

Then came the Motherwell chances. First Christopher Long sclaffed a low shot wide from close range, before whistling an effort the wrong side of a post from further out after good work from Liam Grimshaw.

Jermaine Hylton also fired wide from 20 yards, before turning provider as the hosts took the lead. Hylton turned Anthony Ralston inside out before delivering a fine cross to the back post, where Cole rose highest to nod home.

Motherwell took confidence from that as St Johnstone offered little by way of response and early in the second half it was 2-0. Hartley met a corner with a meaty header, which flew into the net.

The inexperienced St Johnstone defence sorely needed an experienced leader. Manager Wright has made bringing in an "older, wiser" head a priority for the January window.

The visitors tried to respond. Kennedy should have done better one-on-one with the goalkeeper but he fired into the side netting. A header from Ali McCann sailed high over the bar, then a long-range strike from the promising central midfielder missed the target by inches.

Motherwell remained a threat and extended their lead when Declan Gallagher's header came back off a post and Carroll hit home the rebound.

And they rounded off a very good day with a calmly taken goal from substitute Manzinga, who rolled the ball past Zander Clark.

In contrast, it was a truly disheartening day for St Johnstone, who could now face further defensive issues as Wallace Duffy hobbled off with an injury in the closing stages.

Motherwell players celebrate against St Johnstone

Man of the match - Jermaine Hylton

It was a great team display from Motherwell, but the 26-year-old looked hungry throughout and came up with the assist for the vital opening goal.

'Poor' despite thumping win - reaction

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson: "I thought we were poor at times - a little bit flat - but there was some super defending and, at the other end, we were brave and our deliveries were good.

"We didn't play as well as I feel we should do, but I've got to be happy because we were strong in both boxes. Everyone was maybe just a step off it, but everyone kept going. We were clinical."

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright: "The game can be summed up by [the fact] they put seven headers in our box and won every one. We didn't deal with any of them and that's what has cost us.

"Motherwell will not get four easier goals and I've had to stand here too many weeks and say that. They've got to realise they've got to stand up and do their jobs. No-one is given a go at anybody when we concede. We're almost too nice."

Line-ups

Motherwell

  • 20Gillespie
  • 4Grimshaw
  • 31Gallagher
  • 5Hartley
  • 3Carroll
  • 22Donnelly
  • 6Campbell
  • 19PolworthSubstituted forO'Haraat 78'minutes
  • 44Cole
  • 9LongSubstituted forScottat 61'minutes
  • 14HyltonSubstituted forManzingaat 75'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Carson
  • 2Tait
  • 11Seedorf
  • 12Manzinga
  • 17Scott
  • 24Mugabi
  • 32O'Hara

St Johnstone

  • 1Clark
  • 21Ralston
  • 2DuffySubstituted forVihmannat 81'minutes
  • 15Kerr
  • 3Tanser
  • 33Kennedy
  • 18McCannBooked at 70mins
  • 19Holt
  • 10WotherspoonSubstituted forWrightat 67'minutes
  • 14MaySubstituted forO'Halloranat 67'minutes
  • 9Kane

Substitutes

  • 5Vihmann
  • 7Wright
  • 11Swanson
  • 12Parish
  • 17O'Halloran
  • 24Booth
  • 26Craig
Referee:
Euan Anderson
Attendance:
4,092

Match Stats

Home TeamMotherwellAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home16
Away11
Shots on Target
Home5
Away3
Corners
Home5
Away4
Fouls
Home15
Away7

Live Text

Match ends, Motherwell 4, St. Johnstone 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Motherwell 4, St. Johnstone 0.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Liam Grimshaw.

Goal!

Goal! Motherwell 4, St. Johnstone 0. Christy Manzinga (Motherwell) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Mark O'Hara following a fast break.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Liam Grimshaw.

Matthew Kennedy (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Liam Donnelly (Motherwell).

Peter Hartley (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Matthew Kennedy (St. Johnstone).

Foul by Mark O'Hara (Motherwell).

Alistair McCann (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Christy Manzinga.

Foul by Christy Manzinga (Motherwell).

Anthony Ralston (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Madis Vihmann replaces Wallace Duffy because of an injury.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Mark O'Hara replaces Liam Polworth.

Foul by Peter Hartley (Motherwell).

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

Foul by Allan Campbell (Motherwell).

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

Attempt blocked. James Scott (Motherwell) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Christy Manzinga replaces Jermaine Hylton.

Foul by Jake Carroll (Motherwell).

Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Goal!

Goal! Motherwell 3, St. Johnstone 0. Jake Carroll (Motherwell) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner following a corner.

Declan Gallagher (Motherwell) hits the right post with a header from the centre of the box following a corner.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Scott Tanser.

Booking

Alistair McCann (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.

James Scott (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Alistair McCann (St. Johnstone).

Attempt saved. Jermaine Hylton (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt missed. Alistair McCann (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Drey Wright replaces David Wotherspoon.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Michael O'Halloran replaces Stevie May.

Foul by Liam Grimshaw (Motherwell).

Matthew Kennedy (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Matthew Kennedy (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Attempt missed. Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

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

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. James Scott replaces Chris Long.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic1311114073334
2Rangers1311113883034
3Aberdeen158432317628
4Motherwell158162522325
5Kilmarnock156451717022
6Hibernian154742327-419
7Livingston153571623-714
8Ross County143561630-1414
9Hamilton152671527-1212
10Hearts132561520-511
11St Mirren1532101121-1011
12St Johnstone142571333-2011
View full Scottish Premiership table

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