St Johnstone made it two home draws in a week, and their third sharing of the points with Motherwell this season.
In the end they could be grateful of what they got because Craig Levein’s team produced a performance that was short of quality in pretty much every department.
Ex-Saint Theo Bair cancelled out a Ryan McGowan opener and you have to say that Saints were fortunate to not be beaten.
The hosts couldn’t have wished for a better start.
They were in front after just three minutes when McGowan finished from close-range after Motherwell failed to deal with a Matt Smith free-kick.
Home fans would have been fearing the worst when a long VAR checked followed but in the end it was deemed that Andy Considine was either not offside or not impeding goalkeeper, Liam Kelly, as the ball went past him.
Rather than using the early opener as a platform to build on, Saints then allowed the visitors to take control and play the better football.
Bair’s glancing header from a Blair Spittal cross just before the half-hour mark was a thoroughly deserved equaliser.
Captain Liam Gordon had to be substituted soon after.
DJ Jaiyesimi replaced him and Craig Levein changed to a back four.
A bit better
Things improved a bit after that, with Benji Kimpioka’s pace getting him to a Dan Phillips lofted pass before Kelly.
The Swedish striker lobbed the ball over the keeper but he couldn’t get to it in time to prevent it running out of play.
Kimpioka used his pace again to good effect four minutes into the second half.
This time he got a shot away but it was straight at Kelly.
Motherwell had two glorious chances to take the lead after that – both times when Stephen O’Donnell crossed from the right and midfield runners had the freedom of McDiarmid Park to pick their spot.
Spittal and Harry Paton were the men who failed to even hit the target.
Connor Smith made his debut off the bench and whipped over an inviting cross late in the match, which Jaiyesimi forced a save out of Kelly from.
Had it produced a winner, Saints wouldn’t have deserved it.
Star man – Ryan McGowan
But for a free-kick he conceded in a dangerous position just outside the box, he was the best of the Saints defenders, all of whom had a lot of work to do.
St Johnstone – Mitov 6.5, Considine 7, McGowan 7.5, Gordon 6 (Jaiyesimi, 35), Carey 6 (Sprangler, 83), Kucheriavyi 5 (Connor Smith, 61), Robinson 6, Matt Smith 6.5, Phillips 5, Kimpioka 5.5 (Clark, 61), Keltjens 6. Subs not used – Richards, Gallacher, Olufunwa, Kerr Smith, Franczak.