A sympathetic view of today’s debacle might be that it was just a bad day at the office. Another view is that our weakness both up front and in defence were laid bare by a St Johnstone team that are far from world beaters. It was a huge disappointment and a massive improvement will be needed if we are to progress in the League Cup against Hibs on Tuesday.
We started the afternoon well enough. Long spells of comfortable possession resulted in much of the play in front of the St Johnstone goal at the empty South Stand end. We had lots of the ball but Enkleman was not troubled. Indeed, Sheridan almost gave us an early shock when his 20 yard effort swerved on its way to goal, thankfully Randolph was able to palm away for a corner.
The goals we lost were all horrors. The first came in twenty minutes following a thirty five yard free kick that floated from the O’Donnell Stand side of the pitch to the far post. It was headed back into the mix and eventually cannoned off Clancy into the net.
The home fans expected a reaction, some lifting of the pedestrian pace and a determined assault to grab the equaliser. They were to be disappointed. If anything, St Johnstone grew in confidence as our game proceeded to disintegrate. Passes went astray and mistakes took over. If ever there was a time for strong words they were needed at the break.
The second goal almost arrived just before the hour when Millar was allowed to run along the 18 yard line before dispatching a fine effort at the top left corner. Again, Randolph saved the day with a fine save. The Saints were two up with fifteen minutes remaining. A loose pass back from Hammell was intercepted by Sandaza and he took his time before rolling the ball low to the corner of the net.
In 81 minutes we were treated to the second meaningful attempt on goal by a Motherwell player. Higdon’s effort was easily saved. The big striker had a stinker (he was not alone). Omar Daley got his SPL debut at this stage, coming on in place of Jennings but to little effect.
The defence completed a woeful day when the third was conceded five minutes from the end. Sandaza eased away from Clancy and Craig was on hand for the loose ball following his shot. That prompted a mass exodus.
Given the good start to this campaign it was a blow to see the team offer such a poor game but they have two opportunities to get back on form this week. A couple of wins and all will be forgiven!