Curtis Main continued the prolific start to his Motherwell career as Stephen Robinson’s side moved into the Ladbrokes Premiership top six with a 2-0 victory over St Johnstone.
Main took his tally to four goals in six matches with an excellent strike from 18 yards. He also played a part in Allan Campbell’s 64th-minute opener as the 19-year-old slid in for his first goal of the season.
The striker has helped Motherwell fans move on from the departure of top goalscorer Louis Moult after joining from Portsmouth last month and he kept his head up after hitting the bar in an otherwise uneventful first half and then missing several easier chances.
The hosts showed far more urgency and purpose after the break with their wing-backs getting forward to better effect, and they moved three points above Kilmarnock, although the Ayrshire side have three games in hand.
Saints lacked a goal threat in the second half but they had put together some decent passing moves early on which culminated in Trevor Carson saving from Stefan Scougall and Chris Kane. Scougall limped off inside 20 minutes with Matty Willock taking his place.
Motherwell’s first-half chances all fell to Main. The Englishman had a decent effort deflected just over following good work from Campbell and then had a shot on the turn well held by Alan Mannus.
Main then struck a powerful effort off the top of the bar from 20 yards after again linking up well with Campbell.
He wasted three great chances in the opening seven minutes of the second half, firstly opting to cut the ball across goal when Andy Rose’s lob had found him three yards out following a corner. The striker did not realise the space he was in with his back to goal and his pass was cleared.
The unmarked forward then snatched at a shot when the ball broke to him 14 yards out and dragged it wide.
The 25-year-old was soon played through by Nadir Ciftci’s deft touch but Mannus made an excellent block with his foot.
But Main played a key role in the opener, showing good footwork to set up Richard Tait to send in a low cross which Campbell turned home after bursting into the six-yard box.
And the former Middlesbrough striker was rewarded for his persistence six minutes later when he collected Tait’s cutback on the edge of the penalty area and fired just inside the far corner.
Saints midfielder Blair Alston came close with a dipping volley from 30 yards but Motherwell were otherwise comfortable and Rose and sub Craig Tanner missed late chances.