IT'S amazing how sometimes in football you can watch a team change in front of your eyes.

That was certainly the case with Saints on Saturday as they went from tentative and unsure to confident and rampant.

Winning games, and in particular scoring goals, breeds confidence.

So it was understandable that Saints were a little down in the dumps going into the match.

Just three goals in their seven games prior to Hull's visit was hardly a good return.

For the first time this season, George Burley decided to name an unchanged XI.

That decision raised a few eyebrows before the game with many wondering if he would shuffle the strikers around to try and conjure up more goals.

Though he did thankfully change the formation back to a 4-4-2, the personnel wasn't altered and it paid dividends.

It has been a remarkable turnaround with Saints seeing goals flying in from all angles at both ends to rarely seeing any at all.

But you always felt that at some point some team was going to get a pasting - and what was nice was that it happened at St Mary's.

Burley's decision not to change things around wasn't looking particularly clever for the vast majority of the first half.

Bradley Wright-Phillips in particular looked to be struggling for confidence and could only show in glimpses that spark he has in his game.

But what an important goal the one he scored two minutes before halftime could prove to be in the context of the season.

It really did kickstart Saints into life and, as the game wore on, they looked more and more confident, adding another three goals and creating other chances.

If you are going to hit a run of form then this is about the time to do it with a packed Christmas and New Year programme just around the corner.

And from what looked after Tuesday's goalless draw with Sheffield Wednesday as being a disappointing week has ended with seven points from the three games.

That's a return you probably would have taken beforehand.

Saints could well, and possibly should, have conceded two goals in the first half.

Hull didn't look a great team and seemed a little sluggish but were still allowed two free headers in front of the Saints goal.

The first via a Sam Ricketts cross from the right was headed wide at the far post by Dean Windass.

The second from Jay-Jay Okocha's corner was an even better chance and was nodded over by Damien Delaney.

For much of the first half it was only Andrew Surman who showed any real conviction in attack, forcing Boaz Myhill into a couple of decent saves.

An example of Saints' lack of confidence came on the half hour mark when Adam Hammill brought a ball down brilliantly on the left touchline and played a remarkable defence-splitting raking pass right into the path of Wright-Phillips.

His finish was tentative and never threatened the goal.

But he put that right in some style two minutes before the break when Hammill crossed from the right and he rose to slam a header in off the inside of the far post.

After the break it was all Saints, who were again strong at the back and suddenly prepared to push forward with Stern John going on to bag a hat-trick.

The first came on 58 minutes when Hammill again crossed from right to the far post and this time it was John waiting to head down into the ground and into the net.

On 77 minutes Hammill's low ball into the area gave Marek Saganowski a shooting chance but he threw in an air shot.

Fortunately the ball hit his standing leg and stopped, allowing him to lay the ball back for John.

He had no hesitation in drilling in a low shot that deflected off a flying Hull defender and left Myhill wrong footed.

Just a minute later his hat-trick was completed in spectacular fashion when he brought the ball down on his chest and volleyed home from 20 yards.

Jhon Viafara then saw an effort cleared off the line and blazed the follow-up over the bar.

But four was more than enough for one afternoon.

The convincing scoreline still didn't paper over a few obvious cracks in the Saints performance.

It was not the complete display by any stretch of the imagination.

But a 4-0 win any way it comes is an excellent victory.

Hopefully this much-needed confidence booster will be just the kickstart Saints need to get that flowing football and run of wins together again.