Motherwell 1 - 2 St Johnstone: Well keen on El Bakhtaoui

Motherwell manager Mark McGhee confirmed after his side had failed to overtake fourth-placed St Johnstone that he is considering making a move for Dunfermline's Moroccan striker, Faissal El Bakhtaoui.

Danny Swanson celebrates scoring St Johnstone's winner with his team mate Brain Easton. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS

He has yet to make an offer to the 23-year-old, whose 30 goals helped the Pars win promotion and earned him PFA Scotland’s League One Player of the Year award.

Any potential move, though, would hinge on whether or not Scott McDonald decides to remain at Fir Park.

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“He’s one of several strikers we’re looking at,” he said. “We’re still having contract talks with Scott but we need to have options and he’s one of the ones we’d be happy to bring if we needed him.

Motherwell will move for Dunfermline's Faissal El Bakhtaoui if Scott McDonald leaves Fir Park. Picture: Alan Rennie.

Scott’s on a year’s option and the ball’s in his court but if he stays that kills it because we couldn’t afford to have both.”

Motherwell set the tone for a thoroughly entertaining first half when they took the lead with less than four minutes on the clock.

Steven Anderson’s pass back was charged down by Chris Cadden, which spooked the young Saints goalkeeper, Zander Clark, who panicked and sliced his clearance straight to McDonald.

The former Celtic striker was left with a gaping goal to aim at and he headed home from around the penalty spot.

Motherwell will move for Dunfermline's Faissal El Bakhtaoui if Scott McDonald leaves Fir Park. Picture: Alan Rennie.

Although Joe Shaughnessy struck the far post with a shot from distance in the 16th minute, Motherwell comfortably enjoyed the best of the early exchanges and Lionel Ainsworth and McDonald will be disappointed not to have supplied better finishes to sumptuous crosses from the impressive Marvin Johnson.

Gradually, though, the visitors worked their way into this contest and they drew level when Steven McLean stole in at the back post to fire Brian Easton’s delivery behind Connor Ripley.

Then, as the first half drew to a close, a David Wotherspoon cross found its way to Danny Swanson and he took a touch before passing the ball inside Ripley’s right-hand post.

Unfortunately, the second 45 minutes paled by comparison, with players looking increasingly leggy on a heavy pitch.

There was still much satisfaction to be derived from the game for Saints manager Tommy Wright, who has effectively clinched a fourth-place finish for the second successive season.

“After the split you’re playing against the top teams and Motherwell have been in pretty good form recently,” said the Irishman. “But we came here and recovered from an early setback to win the game and we could have scored more goals.

“After we got back to 1-1 I thought we were the better team. It was a superb performance.”

McGhee’s men had won six of their previous eight matches but they ran out of ideas here.

“We made a lot of chances to finish it when we were 1-0 up but we didn’t take them,” he said. “The second-half was a bit of an end-of-season slog but I told my players at the end that they thoroughly deserved their lap of honour because it was a great effort to get us even to within touching distance of fourth place.”