It's a funny, fickle old game. St Mirren are probably wishing they hadn’t beaten Motherwell just before Christmas. Motherwell, on the other hand, are perhaps glad they did. Since that victory at Fir Park, the struggling Saints have slithered to six league defeats on the trot. Motherwell, by contrast, have rallied with five wins in a row. This latest success, burnished by two cracking goals, hoisted them up to seventh in the table while St Mirren are slowly drifting away at the bottom.

“Listen, I didn’t get too down when we were losing games and I won’t get too carried away now we have won five in a row,” said the level-headed Motherwell manager, Stephen Robinson, as he reflected on the fallow period. “Three weeks ago, we lost to Ross County and I was the worst manager in the world and we were the worst team. I wasn’t and we weren’t. And we’re not the best now either.”

The usual pre-match shake of the hands between the respective captains and the referee perhaps should have had the additional exchange of the St Mirren skipper, Stephen McGinn, suggesting to the man in the middle, “if you keep the tally to three penalties you’ll be doing fine.”

The spot-kick stooshie that was whipped up during the Paisley club’s trip to Ibrox at the weekend had generated about as many headlines as a Liam Neeson revelation. Motherwell, meanwhile, have been quietly but assuredly going about their business and their sprightly resurgence was evident in the legs straight away as Liam Grimshaw took the ball from the kick-off and embarked on a scampering raid up the flank which looked more like the 100 yard dash. That initial burst may not have led to anything much but it spoke volumes for Motherwell’s new found confidence, purpose and adventure as they stamped their authority on the early to-ings and fro-ings.

With an unchanged starting XI for the fourth successive game, the visitors were playing with fluid cohesion and Curtis Main threatened in the opening 10 minutes with a powerful shot on the angle which Vaclav Hladky had to fist to safety. The St Mirren custodian could do nothing, however, about the next missile that thundered his way after 11 minutes.

The impressive Jack Hastie took a pass from Turnbull on the right before cutting inside, evading the challenges of two defenders before unleashing a terrific left-footed drive from 25 yards which rattled the bar on its spectacular way into the net.

Oran Kearney opted to shuffle things up after just 23 minutes, bringing on Kyle McAllister in place of Jack Baird, who clearly wasn’t too enamoured by the decision as he muttered his way towards the dug out while ignoring his manager’s offer of a hand shake.

McAllister would become involved at the sharp end almost immediately but not before St Mirren were presented with their best chance of the half thus far when the ball fell to Anders Dreyer eight yards out. His shot was brilliantly palmed over by Mark Gillespie, though. A few seconds later, McAllister had his chance but after being set up by Dreyer’s inviting cut back, he side footed a glorious chance into the stand. That may have provoked a collective head-in-the-hands reaction from those of a St Mirren persuasion but at least the hosts had established a foothold in proceedings and were beginning to make some menacing advances.

St Mirren kept trying to prise an opening after the resumption but it was Motherwell who should have doubled their tally. McAllister’s sloppy pass led to a Motherwell counter attack but with bodies up in support, Hastie’s cut back was scuffed by Main and was scrambled clear. Indeed, it was McAllister who managed to redeem himself by hoiking the loose ball off the line.

Main, always a bustling, bundle of nuisance, made a better connection shortly after and his crisp effort flashed across the goal. You couldn’t fault Main for trying and he had another pop which was deflected over the top. Those missed chances would come home to roost on 73 minutes, though, as Paul McGinn’s header floated nicely into the far corner to level things up.

The joy was fleeting. Four minutes after that, Motherwell inched ahead again with a goal of clinical authority. Elliott Frear bounded down the left and his cross was met by Allan Campbell, who finished with joyous aplomb with a downward header.

“Our goal took a bit of steam out of us more than anything which was a strange feeling," conceded Kearney. "We were tentative during that four minute spell and it’s hurt us big time. But we’ve had enough sob stories. We’ve got to start putting points on the board."