Motherwell began 2014 with all guns blazing as they put four past a shellshocked St Johnstone at Fir Park on New Year’s Day.
John Sutton, Iain Vigurs, Lionel Ainsworth and James McFadden all found the net all ’Well strode to their fifth win in a row.
However, in truth both sides could easily have added to the overall score in an action packed game.
Stephen McManus thought he had given the home side the lead as he volleyed an Ainsworth corner off the underside of the bar.
The ball actually bounced down and back up to the bar, but referee John Beaton decided it hadn’t crossed the line.
Saints’ goalkeeper Alan Mannus was then called into action as he clawed away a Shaun Hutchinson effort from another corner.
At the other end the woodwork also denied Saints as Dave McKay crashed a shot against the junction of post and bar.
SUTTON gave ’Well the lead in 22 minutes as he glanced in a cross from Vigurs.
Dan Twardzik, in the final game of his loan spell, then had to react well to keep out Scott Brown at his near post and maintain the lead.
Ainsworth then danced his way into the box, his shot was parried by Mannus and the ball broke for Stuart Carswell who saw his effort headed off the line by McKay.
Four minutes into the second half it 2-0 as Ainsworth burst into the box, his low shot was again denied by Mannus, but VIGURS was on hand to tuck home his first ’Well goal.
St Johnstone were again left cursing the woodwork as Stevie May’s first effort appeared to be blocked by a trailing hand of Shaun Hutchinson and then his second was flicked onto the post by Twardzik.
To even things up the hosts hit the woodwork for a second time on 73 minutes as Hutchinson headed against the post, but ’Well kept the move alive and AINSWORTH fired in a deserved goal.
Three minutes from time late substitute McFADDEN wrapped things up, his pass clipped the heels of Vigurs, but the former Scotland man needed no second invitation to curl past the despairing grasp of Mannus from 25 yards.
Motherwell: Twardzik, Ramsden, Hutchinson, McManus, Hammell, Ainsworth, Lasley (Lawson 84), Carswell, Vigurs, Anier (Moore 76), Sutton (McFadden 82). Subs not used: Nielsen, Cummins, McHugh, Francis-Angol.
St Johnstone: Mannus, Mackay, Wright, Anderson, Scobbie, Brown (Fallon 68), Edwards, Davidson, McDonald (Millar 84), Wotherspoon (Hasselbaink 59), May. Subs not used: Banks, Croft, Jahic, Miller.
Referee: John Beaton.