McFadden happy to play his part in European chase

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James McFadden says he is revelling in Motherwell’s charge for Europe after earning his team a point with a late 25-yard free-kick against St Mirren.

Motherwell 2-2 St Mirren

Scorers: Motherwell - Higdon (34), McFadden (84); St Mirren - Newton (41), Guy (75)

Referee: B Colvin

Attendance: 5,414

McFadden curled the ball into the top corner with just five minutes left to earn Motherwell a 2-2 draw in an entertaining Fir Park fixture. The strike maintained their three-point lead over Inverness and also the eight-point cushion they hold in the race for a top-three place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League that will earn European football. And McFadden is confident they can retain that position if they keep their form going.

The 29-year-old said: “Since I’ve been here, apart from Ross County and Aberdeen away, for the most part we have played really well. If we can continue that and show the attitude and spirit we showed here, then we should be okay.”

Motherwell had the edge throughout most of the game, especially in the second half, but St Mirren never lost their attacking ambition and both sides played some good football on a dry and bumpy pitch.

Michael Higdon passed up a couple of half-chances before heading home Keith Lasley’s cross in the 34th minute to put Motherwell ahead and take his tally for the season to 23 goals. But Motherwell allowed Conor Newton time and space to arrow a 25-yard strike into the top corner just before the break and substitute Lewis Guy put Saints ahead with 15 minutes left.

Motherwell came close on numerous occasions but looked set to be frustrated before McFadden took control of the situation as the hosts pressed hard for a winner.

McFadden said: “I think we deserved to win the game but on balance we will take a point. It’s maybe points dropped before the game but as the game went on they stole themselves in front and I thought we did well to get back into it and we should have won.

“Fair play to them, they play some good stuff. But we showed the character to come back into it.”

Both managers were delighted with the standard of football their teams served up. Motherwell boss Stuart McCall said: “There were about 5,400 here and obviously we don’t expect the St Mirren fans to come back next week but I would like to think the fans that came today were entertained enough to come back. I don’t think our players can do any more in that regard – shots on goal, balls across the box, general play. I was really pleased with them.”

St Mirren are the only team Motherwell have not beaten in the SPL this season and nothing separates the sides on the pitch during Danny Lennon’s time in Paisley. Lennon wants his side to use Motherwell as a yardstick for the consistency he is craving. “Motherwell are a great attacking side and they score a lot of goals,” Lennon said. “They have brought a lot of consistency to the SPL this season and I have got to compliment them on that.”