Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson hailed his players for winning an ugly game against St Johnstone in the Ladbrokes Premiership 1-0.
The resilient Fir Park side recovered from a home defeat to Ross County to ease their way into third position thanks to a first-half poacher’s goal by on-loan Wigan attacker Devante Cole in Perth.
Robinson’s men rode their luck at times, especially when goalkeeper Mark Gillespie brilliantly saved a Scott Tanser spot-kick, before midfielder Liam Donnelly was dismissed late on for an alleged stamp on Saints sub Chris Kane.
Robinson, who hinted the Fir Park side could be tempted to appeal against Donnelly’s dismissal, said: “It was a grind but we showed great character to get three points.
“We were not on it and to win when not playing well showed our character.
“The penalty save was a huge turning point but we should have won it before that.
“We won’t get carried away being up to third, there are massive aspects of the game we can improve on. The boys ground out the victory, so we are delighted.”
Robinson insisted midfielder Donnelly had not meant to stamp on Kane when they tangled late in the contest.
He explained: “I have seen the red card back and can see why he was sent off. But the momentum has taken Liam over him and I don’t think there is any malice involved in it.”
Frustrated Perth boss Tommy Wright admitted there was a Groundhog Day element about the latest loss, which leaves him still seeking an elusive first win.
“The goal we lost was horrendous,” he insisted. “The penny isn’t dropping with some individuals, people not doing their jobs when it matters.
“It’s two minutes to go until half-time, you have to put a better challenge in and you have to mark runners.
“We are gifting teams goals, letting them get ahead and giving them something to cling on to – that is the story of our season so far.
“We created a lot of chances and missed a penalty.
“There’s no doubt in my mind we should have won the game but you can’t gift teams goals the way we are.
“It’s not confidence because if that was a problem I wouldn’t have got a response in the second half. It’s not that.
“What it’s about is doing our job properly when we’re defending. Poor, poor defending has cost us again.”
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