St Johnstone 1-1 Motherwell: Tony Watt earns visitors draw at McDiarmid Park

Match report as Tony Watt’s goal 10 minutes from time sees Motherwell draw 1-1 at St Johnstone; the home side had led through a Stephen O’Donnell own goal at McDiarmid Park

Sunday 8 August 2021 18:03, UK

An equaliser with 10 minutes to go by Tony Watt ensured Motherwell a share of the spoils from a 1-1 draw against St Johnstone who had led through a Stephen O’Donnell own goal in Perth.

Any signs that European fatigue might have crept into St Johnstone’s minds following Thursday evening’s famous result away to Galatasaray vanished immediately with a solid result, with the only disappointment being that a return of three points became just one.

Hayden Muller came in for his debut and produced a decent showing with Glenn Middleton back in the team having returned on loan from Rangers prior to action. Connor Shields came in for his Motherwell debut having joined in the summer from Queen of the South.

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Zander Clark showed his reactions in front of Scotland boss Steve Clarke on several occasions.

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Motherwell almost took the lead after six minutes with Kevin van Veen finding space in the St Johnstone box with his sharp drive towards goal thwarted by a smart one-handed save by Clark.

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A defensive mishap by the Steelmen allowed Stevie May a golden opportunity after 12 minutes with the striker being too hesitant with the effort blocked before Ali McCann saw his deflected shot go wide.

With 18 minutes on the clock, St Johnstone custodian Clark turned a Kaiyne Woolery header round the post following a Callum Slattery cross with Motherwell forcing pressure in a bid to break the deadlock.

St Johnstone took the lead after 34 minutes, David Wotherspoon playing a pinpoint cross into the six-yard area through a sea of bodies with O’Donnell diverting the ball into his own net past the stranded Liam Kelly.

Motherwell had more of a presence in the second period as they tried to force a way back into the contest.

An O’Donnell throw-in after 56 minutes found Bevis Mugabi and he forced Clark to stretch and tip the ball onto the post.

Graham Alexander’s side did get the elusive equaliser they craved with 10 minutes to play.

A delightful chipped ball by Steven Lawless found Watt who smashed his shot beyond the helpless Clark to earn the visitors a share of the spoils.

What the managers said…

St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson: “The disappointing thing is we did not see the game out in the last 10 minutes.

“Motherwell get a throw-in and five seconds later they’ve equalised, when we are 1-0 up with 10 minutes to go I expect us to be a little bit better.

“When you are playing Thursdays and Sundays and at that intensity then it’s important that you take your chances.

“I asked for intensity before the game, I am disappointed not to win the game but I’ll take that level of performance.

“Zander Clark pulled out some great saves when he had to, he’s been brilliant for me over the last six months and if he gets a call up to the Scotland squad then perfect.

“He produced a great performance at Galatasaray last Thursday evening and that’s what he’s in the team for, to produce the big saves and gain points for us.”

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Motherwell boss Graham Alexander: “Based on the chances we created, I am a little bit disappointed not to pick up all three points.

“Zander Clark produced some great saves this afternoon and we should have been in the lead with the opportunities before we conceded.

“St Johnstone score through an unfortunate deflection and we came into the second half well having had the setback. We refused to give up. You have to keep knocking on the door which followed with a deserved equaliser and it took a good goal to beat a fine Zander Clark.

“We worked the ball really well for Tony Watt’s finish, Tony and Steven Lawless linked up really well and when we passed the ball through the lines then we caused St Johnstone problems. It was a great finish and we showed our quality.”

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What’s next?

St Johnstone host Galatasaray in the second leg of their Europa League qualifying third-round tie on Thursday at 7pm, before travelling to Arbroath for a Scottish League Cup round-of-16 tie next Sunday at 2pm.

Meanwhile, Motherwell take on Dundee at Dens Park in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday at 3pm.

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