Motherwell 1-1 St Johnstone: Youngsters help earn a point as Motherwell show Greek fatigue
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall will bid to persuade the Fir Park board to release funds for new signings after a young side battled to a 1-1 draw with St Johnstone against all odds.
Scorers: Motherwell - McHugh (78); St Johnstone - Davidson (58)
McCall rated the Clydesdale Bank Premier League point as one of the best results of his managerial career after Bob McHugh netted a 78th-minute equaliser.
Motherwell had the better of the possession and chances in the first half but McCall’s fears that they would tire in the second half, following their midweek Champions League clash against Panathinaikos in Greece, were justified.
They also had to contend with playing with ten men from 57 minutes after Stevie Hammell was sent off after conceding a penalty when Chris Millar went down under pressure after getting in front of the left-back.
McCall felt both penalty and red card decisions were 50-50 and, although Darren Randolph saved Dave Mackay’s spot-kick, Motherwell were behind 60 seconds later when Murray Davidson headed home Liam Craig’s corner.
Already without hamstring injury victim Chris Humphrey, McCall lost Omar Daley to a similar problem at half-time and then illness forced skipper Keith Lasley to leave the field.
The team McCall ended up with had an average age of 23 with teenagers Steven Hetherington and Zaine Francis-Angol both making their SPL debuts.
Craig and Nigel Hasselbaink had chances to wrap the game up and Motherwell looked a spent force but an enterprising run from Law saw him square for McHugh to finish from 12 yards. Saints striker Rowan Vine was sent off two minutes later for a second bookable foul on Shaun Hutchinson and Motherwell almost snatched a winner with Michael Higdon, Simon Ramsden and Hutchinson all seeing efforts blocked on the line.
Despite the strong finish and McCall’s elation at the result, the Motherwell manager knows his squad needs reinforcements.
The Motherwell manager, whose side face two Europa League games against Levante this month, said: “We weren’t great second half, we were tired mentally and physically. I have played games like that and come back and had not a lot in the tank. It’s all right for clubs who can make changes, we can’t do that. I’m slightly envious when I see Aberdeen bringing in (Mark) Reynolds and St Johnstone bringing (Craig) Beattie in.
“I think our lads need a hand, we have got a slim squad. I will never ask the club for money that they haven’t got if it puts us in financial trouble. But the news about the TV deals last week wasn’t as catastrophic as everyone first feared, so I would be hopeful.
“I think we are playing eight or nine games in August, virtually with the same team, and that’s a big ask.”
St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas was frustrated that his side let slip their advantage, but encouraged by their overall performance. “If we give that level of performance throughout the year, we’ll pick up more points than we lose” he said.
Beattie was not involved after signing on Friday but could face Aberdeen on Saturday after Vine joined Gregory Tade on the suspended list.
“We’ll have to see where Craig is in terms of his fitness,” Lomas said. “But we have got some options now and I’m delighted with that.”
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Friday 24 May 2013
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