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Callum Hendry nets added-time winner as St Johnstone hit back to beat Motherwell

St Johnstone v Celtic – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – McDiarmid Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Callum Hendry scored a brilliant stoppage-time winner as St Johnstone came from behind to beat Motherwell 2-1.

Hendry scored his second goal of the game when he latched on to a long ball down the left channel and fired into the far top corner.

Kevin van Veen had netted a brilliant solo effort in the 12th minute – his 10th goal of the season – as Motherwell opened the scoring for the first time since Boxing Day.

There appeared little danger when the Dutch striker received the ball with his back to goal but he turned his man and ran into space before firing a shot which bounced into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

Saints levelled nine minutes later when Melker Hallberg crossed from the right and Hendry ran across his marker to head into the top corner at the near post.

The Saints striker had the final say as his sixth goal in 10 games since returning from a loan spell at Kilmarnock moved the Perth side four points clear of Dundee at the bottom of the cinch Premiership.

Motherwell have now gone 11 league games without victory but are still just a point off the top six.

Saints were missing manager Callum Davidson through coronavirus but had Shaun Rooney and Murray Davidson back in the team after injury while Nadir Ciftci earned a recall.

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander went with the same formation – with three centre-backs and three forwards – that lasted 50 seconds against Hibernian before Bevis Mugabi was sent off. Stephen O’Donnell replaced the suspended Uganda international at wing-back while Jake Carroll and Connor Shields also came in.

The two goals lit up a scrappy start but Dean Cornelius was at the heart of some decent passing moves from Motherwell towards the end of the first half. One ended with Shields having a tame effort saved and then Joe Efford miskicked an attempted volley.

Van Veen and Dan Cleary were both booked following an off-the-ball incident which left the Motherwell striker on the ground holding his head towards the end of the half.

The first half hour of the second period was a non-event. The hosts had the better of the early exchanges without ever threatening and O’Donnell shot about 15 yards wide in Motherwell’s first attack of the half.

Stevie May and Jacob Butterfield had come on for the hosts before the Motherwell fans got the first substitution they had been calling for in the 77th minute.

Kaiyne Woolery replaced Carroll as Alexander moved to a 4-2-4 and the substitute hit a post two minutes later with a drilled effort from out wide which took a slight deflection. Van Veen soon had a free-kick saved and Liam Gordon headed over at the other end.

Woolery was booked for diving in the box following a delayed fall after launching a promising counter-attack before Hendry scored a stunning effort.

Van Veen came close to another spectacular goal but Zander Clark rose to tip over the Dutchman’s free-kick.

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