Motherwell manager Mark McGhee felt his side were slightly “off the pace” despite overcoming St Johnstone 2-0 .

The Fir Park victory stretches the Steelmen’s winning run to three games.

“I didn’t think our performance was as good as it’s been lately,” said McGhee.

“I think we suffered from the fact our training has been disrupted with the weather, our game at the weekend was off, Christmas day we had off. I felt we were a little fortunate we were two-nil up at half-time.”

McGhee reserved special praise for the seasoned spine of his team, spearheaded by striker Scott McDonald.

“I felt the experienced players tonight were in a sense our best players,” he told BBC Scotland. “Stephen McManus, Stephen Pearson, Keith Lasley, right through the middle of the park.

“In particular, I thought Scott McDonald was fantastic tonight. He led the line, he showed all his craft and his experience and ability, I really did think he was terrific tonight.”

With a derby against Lanarkshire rivals Hamilton Academical looming on Saturday, Motherwell have pulled four points clear of second-bottom Kilmarnock, with two games in hand over the Rugby Park side.

“I’m still targeting getting away from Kilmarnock,” replied McGhee, when questioned on his goals for the remainder of the season.

“We have games in hand over them, but we have to put as many points between that second-bottom spot as we possibly can and see where it takes us.

“Because, at the end of the season, we don’t want to be involved in that again.”

Motherwell goalkeeper Connor Ripley makes a save

St Johnstone created chances in the second half but failed to find the net

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright , meanwhile, felt his side – who have failed to score in their last three matches – were unfortunate not to take something from the match.

“I’m really disappointed for the players because I think it’s the case the better team probably lost tonight,” he said.

“We started the game well, had a couple of opportunities, gave a cheap corner away (for the opening goal).

“From there, probably the turning point, Chris Kane has a great chance for one-each, he’s a wee bit indecisive whether to have a go and hit it first time or go round the keeper and he ends up doing neither. They go straight up the field and score, 2-0.”

Wright was forced to withdraw integral pair Michael O’Halloran and Murray Davidson during the first half through injury and illness respectively, saying the latter has “an outside chance” of being available for Sunday’s visit of Aberdeen.

He insists, however, he is not too disheartened by St Johnstone’s apparent profligacy after a high-scoring start to the season.

“Overall, how we played was good,” said Wright. “Even though we haven’t scored in the last three games, the performances have been good.”