There was no change to Motherwell's starting line up and the same eleven that disposed of Hibs last weekend kicked off in front of 2268 or so at McDiarmid Park. The stands behind both goals were fan free but the much criticised surface looked like it would not hamper Jones nor Humphrey on the wings.
The players went through the formalities for the first fifteen minutes without much incident. The home fans found their voice after fifteen minutes but it was only to complain at the booking referee Murray gave to May for a dive in the box. Moments later we came close. Hutchison won the ball in midfield and passed to Saunders. A firm first time ball released Humphrey and the winger delivered a tempting ball to Sutton but the striker was unable to get a clean touch. The ball fell to Murphy eight yards out but he too failed, partly because Sutton was blocking the route to goal!
St Johnstone plodded away and had a fair bit of possession in our half. They produced a few scares but no clear cut chances. Murphy tried his luck from 25 yards but his effort was pulled wide. As the game edged to half time the misplaced passes, poor control and lack of any rhythm increased. Everyone hoped for a more entertaining second half.
The game was typified by a move five minutes into the second period. A long throw from Randolph gave Humphrey the freedom of the right wing. He raced sixty yards to the angle of the box and with Sutton and Murphy arriving the home defence were in trouble. Unfortunately there was no positive movement from the strikers and Humphrey elected to blast high and wide.
Worse was to follow. In 61 minutes Saints were given a penalty, presumably for a shove in a ruck of players. Craig sent Randolph the wrong way and we were a goal down. We could hardly complain - Motherwell certainly didn't deserve to be in front at that stage. Ten minutes later McCall substituted Murphy with Casagolda and then Jamie Pollock replaced Hateley.
What little threat we carried came from Humphrey or Jones but their crossed balls found no takers. Sutton was dragged down by Anderson and we had a free kick twenty yards out. Hammell's shot hit a claret and amber jersey and the ball bounce away harmlessly.
While St Johnstone were fortunate to take three points, we deserved nothing. It was a poor, poor showing and not what we needed ahead of a visit to Hampden on Sunday.