AS the games and the minutes ticked by, Callum Hendry could have been forgiven for shirking responsibility and retreating to his shell the longer his run without a goal from open play went on. 

He’s never been that type of player, however, and instead the St Johnstone striker kept his head down, shut out the noise, and trusted in his own ability to turn things around and finally find the back of the net without the aid of a referee’s whistle. 

His self-belief paid dividends and when his chance came with the goal gaping he finished with aplomb. Some of the game’s more po-faced analysts might have pointed to the fact the opportunity was laid on a silver platter by haplessness from Motherwell, but Hendry still showed the kind of control and measure his mentor Steven MacLean would have been proud of. 

Hendry’s only other strike this season had come in the Betfred Cup - a penalty in a 7-0 mauling of Brechin City - and his equaliser in Lanarkshire ended his 15-game wait for an open play finish and sparked a second-half comeback from the Saints to earn their place in the quarter-finals. 

"It was a massive relief for me,” the 22-year-old said. “I’m glad it went in. 

“People have talked about confidence, but it was just about taking the chance. Saying that, it was a big relief as it would be for any striker going through a drought.  

“I just want to score as many as I can. I’m trying not to change anything. 

“I’m training as hard as I did last season because I was delighted with how that ended.  

“It’s been about getting my head down and working hard. The gaffer and all the boys told me it would come and to be patient. These things happen. It’s football

HeraldScotland: Former Saints player Steven MacLean is now a coach with the Perth club Former Saints player Steven MacLean is now a coach with the Perth club

“The gaffer has pulled me aside a lot and filled me with confidence. He’s told me just to keep my head down and keep going. 

“I’ve also been working with Macca [coach Steven MacLean]. All the strikers do a bit of shooting with him after training and Macca was the same, telling me it would come. 

‘I’m just delighted it happened after starting the game.” 

He added: “This goal is different to the one against Brechin. It’s against a Premiership opponent, I’ve started, and it’s from open play, 

“This one meant a lot more.” 

That he had a slice of luck in the moments before his goal when Rickie Lamie and Aaron Chapman combined to generously present the opening - later blasted as “ridiculous” by ‘Well boss Stephen Robinson - hardly mattered and those of a blue persuasion could point to their own fine play as merit for the equaliser. 

Michael O’Halloran was intricately involved in St Johnstone’s two goals and, for that matter, most of Callum Davidson’s men’s fine play. The winger mercifully provided a spark to a game which for so long threatened to send even the most ardent diehard watching on PPV looking for a refund option. 

A fine display in Edinburgh midweek was more than matched on Saturday, O’Halloran’s energy too hot for Motherwell to handle. There’s a certain unpredictability about the way the winger plays - perhaps even for the man himself if several stumbles in the box are anything to go by - but when he clicks into gear few can match his raw pace. Something Hendry knows all too well. 

“He’s fast, isn’t he?” Hendry said. “I was trying to catch up and get in the box so he could put a cross in! 

“When he is on his day, he is frightening. He is so fast. I think any defender would struggle to keep up with him. 

“He deserved to have a performance like that after the way he has been training. 

“He’s such a big asset. If you end up one v one against Mikey O’Halloran, I don’t think anyone in the league is catching him, to be honest. It’s good we’ve got him.” 

One man who’ll be glad to see the back of O’Halloran is Chapman, the Motherwell goalkeeper bitterly disappointed by another frustrating display from the Steelmen. 

“It’s a tough one to take,” he said. “Our own errors have cost us today.

HeraldScotland: 'Well goalkeeper Aaron Chapman, pictured during his Accrington Stanley days, was disappointed with his team's errors 'Well goalkeeper Aaron Chapman, pictured during his Accrington Stanley days, was disappointed with his team's errors

“You can imagine what’s being said in the changing room. Everybody’s disappointed, everyone’s hurt. We just need to bounce back - we’ve got all week now to work towards putting it right next week.

“We’ve been talking all week about what a great chance it is to get into a quarter final - but through our own errors it’s not going to happen.”