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St. Johnstone vs Motherwell. Scottish Premiership.

McDiarmid Park.

St. Johnstone 1

  • S May (34th minute pen)

Motherwell 1

  • M O'Hara (17th minute)

St Johnstone 1-1 Motherwell: Hosts come from behind to earn share of spoils

Report as St Johnstone and Motherwell played out a hard fought draw; Mark O'Hara gave hosts the lead (17); Stevie May (34) equalised from the spot; Motherwell stay seventh, while St Johnstone remain eighth

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between St Johnstone and Motherwell.

St Johnstone came from behind to earn a share of the spoils from a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Motherwell.

Mark O'Hara's early breakthrough for the visitors was cancelled out by Stevie May's penalty 11 minutes from the break and neither side could engineer a winner in a see-saw second half.

Motherwell were forced to make late changes to their line-up after the enforced absence of midfielders Allan Campbell and Barry Maguire.

Both have been forced to self-isolate after being deemed close contacts of three Scotland Under-21 team-mates who have tested positive for Covid-19 since returning from Greece in midweek.

The Steelmen brushed off the late blow and took the lead in the 17th minute following a strong opening.

A flowing move down the right flank bought space for Liam Polworth to attempt a shot that was blocked by Jason Kerr inside the area. But the ball broke kindly for O'Hara and the midfielder drilled in from 12 yards out.

St Johnstone responded brightly and Motherwell striker Devante Cole had to look smart to get in the way of David Wotherspoon's goalbound effort midway through the half.

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St Johnstone's Stevie May (right) celebrates his equaliser at McDiarmid Park
Image: St Johnstone's Stevie May (right) celebrates his equaliser at McDiarmid Park

There was a lengthy stoppage as Murray Davidson needed four worrying minutes of treatment after falling awkwardly following an aerial joust with Robbie Crawford.

The midfielder was eventually taken off the pitch on a stretcher to be replaced by Craig Bryson.

But shortly after the restart Saints drew level. A move saw them burrow their way into the area and Bevis Mugabi was tempted into a rash challenge that upended May. The striker picked himself up to drill in his third penalty in two games.

Wotherspoon and O'Hara went close with headers at either end before the half concluded with a chance for the visitors.

Cole received the ball with his back to goal and swivelled swiftly to despatch a low shot but Zander Clark got down smartly to block.

The two sides bump elbows at full time during the Scottish Premiership stalemate
Image: The two sides bump elbows at full time during the Scottish Premiership stalemate

The second half was nip and tuck as both sides probed tentatively for openings. But defences held the upper hand to keep both sets of attackers at bay.

Saints did feel aggrieved when Craig Conway was caught late by Mugabi after heading goalwards, with the winger subsequently having to be substituted with a facial injury.

Another header brought the home side's next opportunity 19 minutes from time. Wotherspoon's corner was headed down by Kerr and helped on by May but Motherwell keeper Aaron Chapman held firm on the line.

When substitute Chris Kane blazed over from a tight angle any prospects of a late winner slipped away.

What the managers said

St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson instructs his players at McDiarmid Park
Image: St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson instructs his players at McDiarmid Park

St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson: "Murray [Davidson] fell awkwardly and he's going to get checked out to make sure he's OK.

"It was more he fell on the shoulder so we want to take precautions to get him assessed. I can't say any more at the moment because I don't know. Craig has broken his nose as well.

"So, it's one of those, when you get one (injury) you get another. Hopefully they're both OK. The effort was there from the players, they were the ones trying to win the game.

"On the flip side, we just need to do a little bit better when we get to that final third and show more composure. We got into good areas without really testing the goalkeeper."

Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson refused to use the absences of Scotland Under-21 internationals Allan Campbell and Barry Maguire as an excuse for the draw.

"Obviously it wasn't ideal; that's an understatement. We had named the team and were ready to go.

"But I got a phone call around 11 o'clock from the chief executive to tell me the two boys, Allan and Barry, couldn't play - and a double punishment that they can't play next week.

"It's a big blow but we're not going to use that as an excuse for the performance. We're happy to get out with a point in the end with the disruption, but we can play better than we did today."

What's next?

St Johnstone travel to face Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership on Tuesday; kick-off 7pm. Curiously, Motherwell host St Johnstone in their next match, next Saturday at 3pm.

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