Hibsv Motherwell


Hibernian maintained their unbeaten start to the new Premiership campaign, though it proved to be a frustrating 90 minutes as the hosts drew 0-0 with Motherwell.

There was plenty of effort and full-bloodied commitment from both teams yet all too often the quality in the final third was missing. A statement underlined by the fact there were 29 shots at goal and only four were on target.

Motherwell went closest to winning the match and had a first-half effort from Jordan White chalked off for offside.

Jack Ross kept faith with the same starting XI that defeated Dundee United at Tannadice in midweek.

The visitors went into the game having taken just one point from their opening three fixtures and they started the better of the two teams.

They carved out the first opportunity of the match when Callum Lang peeled off the left flank and curled a terrific strike that was creeping in at the far post before Ofir Marciano produced an equally impressive save to deny him. The Hibs keeper would have seen it late as it came through a ruck of bodies, however he did brilliantly to get down to his left and push it round the post.

Soon after, an in-swinging cross from Daryl Horgan found the head of Kevin Nesbit, who had drifted in between two Motherwell defenders, however he could only head over the crossbar.

Scotland full-back Stephen O’Donnell had been without a club all summer and only joined Motherwell a couple of days ago, yet he didn’t appear to be missing any match sharpness when he swivelled and turned to get a shot away in the Hibs box that Paul Hanlon did brilliantly to deflect wide of goal.

Stephen Robinson’s side had enjoyed the best of the opening exchanges and their relentless pressing of the ball had denied Hibs’ creative players the time and space they needed.

In fact, it was the Motherwell that looked the more threatening in front of goal and in the 24th minute Sherwin Seedorf robbed Ryan Porteous of possession on the edge of the Hibs box and let fly with an ambitious effort that was high and wide of target.

Motherwell thought they had found the breakthrough in the 35th minute when the ball dropped to White and he hammered it into the net from 16 yards. The visitors’ celebrations, however, were cut short due to Seedorf obstructing the view of Marciano from an offside position.

It was a let-off for Hibs and in the last 10 minutes of the first half it appeared to jolt them into life.

The Easter Road men created a series of chances with Horgan threading a brilliant ball through to release Martin Boyle, who found his early effort saved by Trevor Carson.

Moments later Boyle’s cut-back from the right was met first time by Nesbit, who was denied a first goal at Easter Road by a fine late block from Declan Gallagher.

In the final action of note before the break Christian Doidge got on the end of a corner kick only to head wide at the back post.

The interval came at the wrong time for Hibs, who were enjoying their best spell of the match, and allowed Motherwell to regroup.

The visitors once again started brightly and from a David Turnbull corner in the opening seconds, Rickie Lamie volleyed wide.

Six minutes later and Hibs were guilty of slack play when Lang picked Porteous’ pocket and drove into the box. Gogic did well to hold the Motherwell player up and although he could not prevent a shot at goal, Porteous recovered sufficiently to block at the expense of a corner kick.

At the other end substitute Scott Allan flashed a delivery across the face of goal without any takers before Boyle should have done better with a back-post volley only to slice his shot wide of goal.

With seven minutes remaining Boyle’s cross was acrobatically hooked towards goal by Doidge, however it drifted harmlessly wide.

In time added on substitute Tony Watt found space in the Hibs box, his shot went threw the legs of Lewis Stevenson only for Marciano to save comfortably.

In the end it was another point for Hibs, back-to-back clean sheets and an extension to the team’s unbeaten start to the season.

Next up for Hibs is an away trip to St Johnstone next Sunday evening.

Hibernian: Marciano, Hanlon, Porteous, McGinn, Horgan (Allan 55), Doidge, Boyle, Newell (Hallberg 55), Gogic, Nesbit, Doig (Stevenson 78). Unused subs: Dabrowski, Gray, Mallan, Gullan, McGregor, Stirling.

Motherwell: Carson, Lamie, Campbell, O’Hara, Turnbull, White (Watt 72), Mugabi, Seedorf (Hylton 53), Lang (Long 72), Gallagher, O’Donnell (Grimshaw 88). Unused subs: Morrison, Hastie, Maguire, Polworth, Robinson.

Referee: Greg Aitken.

Report: Richard Payne.

Image: Alan Rennie.