Motherwell manager Stuart McCall was delighted to see his team find their fluency during Saturday’s 3-0 victory over St Mirren at Fir Park.
Motherwell 3-0 St Mirren
Scorers: Motherwell - Anier (31), (64), Ainsworth, (42)
Referee: W Collum
Lionel Ainsworth scored in between two goals from Henri Anier as Motherwell recorded their second consecutive win and their most emphatic Scottish Premiership victory of the season.
Motherwell had taken control of the game before Anier opened the scoring in the 31st minute when he fired into the roof of the net after turning Jim Goodwin inside the box. The Estonian was involved in a slick move that ended with Ainsworth slotting past Marian Kello with three minutes left of the first half and he rounded off the scoring in the 63rd minute when he volleyed home following an Iain Vigurs cross.
Motherwell turned the corner after their shock William Hill Scottish Cup defeat by Albion Rovers and 5-0 thrashing by Celtic when they won 2-1 at Ross County but this performance showed a marked improvement.
McCall said: “We won at Ross County after a shocking couple of weeks, it was about character last week and grit. But there wasn’t a lot of quality.
“We know we have got quality in the squad and I thought we showed that this weekend.
“The early part of the game was like all our games against St Mirren, end to end, and they played some good stuff.
“Bear in mind, they have been on a really good run and they have some really good players. It’s normally by the odd goal that someone wins and that is the first time we have managed to beat them at home. The manner of the goals was good and [Marian] Kello has made a lot of good saves as well. It’s about winning but if you can win like that, that’s obviously more pleasing.”
Danny Lennon felt his side had paid the price for failing to match Motherwell’s work-rate and the St Mirren manager demanded improvement for their Boxing Day clash with Dundee United.
“I felt, as normal, the games against Motherwell they are like a game of tennis from one end to the other,” Lennon said. “We started the first five minutes brightly but our decision-making on the ball was very, very poor and Motherwell’s decision-making was very, very good. At times Anier was unplayable, his movement was terrific and it caused us a lot of problems.”
“When you sit off a Motherwell team and you give them as much joy as that, they can certainly hurt you. I know they went through a sticky period but they are a very, very good team.
“The frustrating thing is I know exactly where it went wrong. They worked harder than us and that hurts me. The frustrating part is why? That’s the big question.
“We have a few days until the heavy Christmas fixture period and we have an opportunity to bounce back and it’s a big, big reaction that’s needed.”