sport

Wright unhappy with winner

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright was disappointed at Motherwell's winning goal being allowed to stand in the 2-1 defeat at Fir Park.

Lionel Ainsworth's early strike for Motherwell had been cancelled out shortly afterwards by Dave MacKay, before the incident that eventually settled the game.

There was confusion all around the stadium as Stephen McManus' 35th-minute header appeared to be punched off the line by St Johnstone defender Steven Anderson, with the referee eventually awarding the goal on his assistant's advice rather than a penalty which would have meant also showing Anderson a red card.

Wright felt, however, that the officials had missed a foul in the build-up to the goal which would have rendered the ensuing argument irrelevant.

"Well I think the controversy is that there's a foul on Dave MacKay in the build-up to it," said Wright.

"I think there's confusion with what happens after that, but I think it should have been a foul on Dave MacKay.

"He goes to ground, and I thought actually that was what the referee was pointing to. Then I thought it was a penalty kick, and if it was going to be a penalty kick it was going to be a sending-off and I think that's maybe what he did, he thought it would be a penalty kick and his assistant's told him it was over the line.

"So he's right then to award the goal, but we're disappointed that there was a foul on Dave MacKay we thought, he doesn't just go to ground for no reason, and obviously McManus is his man and he's been blocked.

"We didn't do enough in the first half though, so they probably deserved to be ahead at that time."

Motherwell manager Stuart McCall was understandably delighted with the victory that puts his side within touching distance of European qualification for the sixth season out of the last seven.

However he also admitted he was not quite sure what the referee had initially given before awarding the second Motherwell goal.

"My first reaction was penalty kick, he's off and they're down to 10 men, which you get quite excited about!" said McCall.

"I got even more excited when I saw the linesman sprinting towards the halfway line, so I knew he had given a goal, or I thought he had given a goal, and obviously there was a bit afterwards where Anderson got booked and I wasn't really sure what happened.

"It was a bit puzzling on the sidelines why the delay took place. I would have been more happy if they had just came back and took the kick-off.

"I asked the fourth official about five minutes later what had happened and he said 'well the goal was given!' I said 'well, yeah, I know the goal was given!'

"At first I thought that it was a penalty kick and Sutty (John Sutton) has been practising his penalties all week so I was quite confident, and you think 'here we go, 10 men', and especially that it was Anderson because I think he's been a rock for them of late, but we're obviously happy that was the winning goal."