St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson pinpointed Michael O’Halloran’s heart as the key to their 2-1 Betfred Cup win over Motherwell.
Saints trailed to Tony Watt’s strike after a 61st-minute set-piece, but O’Halloran set up two goals to turn the second-round tie around inside 16 minutes.
The former Rangers player twice got to the bye-line to deliver low crosses which were converted by Callum Hendry and David Wotherspoon.
O’Halloran was playing at wing-back after Danny McNamara dropped out with a tight hamstring and he caused Motherwell problems all day with his pace and direct running.
Davidson said: “The first 20 minutes I thought we struggled a wee bit, then we got into the game and started to get a little bit of a foothold. We lost a goal against the run of play for me, it was something we could have avoided.
“But after that the character shown by the players was terrific.
“I don’t normally single players out, but I thought Michael dragged us back into the game with his heart more than anything else. That was really pleasing to see.
“The first one is all heart, that drive and determination. A lot of players might have stopped but he kept going.
“First half he put in two or three fantastic balls in the box as well. It wasn’t just for the goals, his all-round game was very good.”
Heart was the very thing that Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson felt his team lacked.
“We got what we deserved,” he said. “Throughout they were sharper than us and they looked hungrier, which is something I don’t often say about my team.
“It was two ridiculous pieces of defending. At half-time we told them to play forward, play positive, make it three v three with their system. We took our first touch backwards and were negative and got punished.
“The second one was such poor communication, we leave Robbie (Crawford) exposed one v one against the quickest player on the pitch. People don’t take responsibility.”
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.