M’well v St Johnstone reaction

Bob McHugh secured an unlikely Scottish Premier League point at

Fir Park on Saturday.

Motherwell were trailing to Murray Davidson’s 58th-minute header

and were down to 10 men after Stevie Hammell had been shown a

straight red card for a penalty box challenge on Chris Millar.

Saints looked destined to claim three points against a

visibly-tired side following their Champions League defeat against

Panathinaikos in extremely hot conditions on Wednesday.

But, with youngsters Steven Hetherington and Zane Francis-Angol

on and Omar Daley, who had a tight hamstring, and ill skipper Keith

Lalsey off the park, McCall was delighted to see McHugh slot home

in the 78th minute following good work by Nicky Law.

Motherwell even came close to winning the game after St

Johnstone striker Rowan Vine had been sent off for a second

bookable foul on Shaun Hutchinson.

Alan Mannus saved well from Michael Higdon and Simon Ramsden

before Hutchinson’s shot was cleared off the line.

But McCall was more than happy with one point, especially

considering Darren Randolph had saved Dave Mackay’s penalty moments

before the opener.

The former Bradford manager said: “That’s one of my most

pleasing results.

“Without making excuses for the boys, I know what they went

through the other night in Athens – the heat, the size of the park,

the quality they were up against.

“And to go with the same 11, bar one change, I feared as the

game went on.

“I felt if we wanted to win the game we would have to be ahead

at half-time because of the exertions the other night. We got back

at Fir Park at half five on Thursday morning.

“I know they are professional players but it’s human nature, you

could see them wilting.

“To go down to 10 men and lose a goal straight after Daz had

saved the penalty, it would have been easy to roll over and get

beat three or four, which could have happened.

“I don’t normally celebrate a goal but I certainly celebrated

that one today.”

McCall also felt a red card and penalty against Hammell might

have been harsh. Millar got in front of the left-back and fell

under pressure as he ran on to Liam Craig’s lofted ball.

Iain Brines had earlier waved away appeals as Motherwell striker

Henrik Ojamaa fell under pressure from Steven Anderson in similar

circumstances.

“I have looked at it again and I can understand why the ref has

given it,” McCall said. “I think both of them could have been

50-50. Unfortunately both of them have gone against us.

“Millar gets in front of him and the other thing is would he

have got it or was Daz there first? I thought he maybe would have

given him a yellow.”

St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas could scarcely believe his side

had not wrapped up three points.

“Apart from the first 15 minutes, it was a very good

performance,” Lomas said.

“But when you go up and they have got 10 men, with the chances

we had, we have got to finish them off.

“We could have lost it, that was the ridiculous thing.

“I thought we passed the ball well and looked a threat going

forward.

“We got ahead and at that stage I could only see one winner. I

thought it could have been four or five and probably should have

been but when you don’t take your chances, something like that can

happen.”