Wed 26 Jan 2022
HT 0-0
Motherwell Motherwell
Hibernian Hibernian
Match Report

Tonight’s cinch Premiership encounter with Motherwell ended in a stalemate as the weather ruined a fixture renowned for goals and entertainment.

The teams may have served up a five-goal thriller back in August however, the wind and rain spoiled this evening's fixture.

There were few goalmouth chances at either end with Kevin van Veen perhaps having the best opportunity of the evening when he sliced wide from close range with the goal at his mercy.

Motherwell’s Liam Donnelly picked up a late red card as the hosts were reduced to 10 men and substitute Christian Doidge could have won it for us late on as he lobbed goalkeeper Liam Kelly, however he got too much lift on his shot, and it drifted over the crossbar.

On a positive note, our defence looked solid throughout as we recorded only our second clean sheet on the road this season.

Shaun Maloney made four changes to the side that defeated Cove Rangers in the Scottish Cup last week as goal scorer Kevin Nisbet returned to the starting line-up.

He was joined by Paul McGinn, Rocky Bushiri and Jake Doyle-Hayes in the first XI, with new signing, Demetri Mitchell, amongst the substitutes.

With skipper Paul Hanlon missing due to an ankle injury, the honour of leading the side this evening fell to veteran, Lewis Stevenson.

We had a great opportunity in the opening 15 seconds of the match as Joe Newell’s ball in behind released Nisbet on the left, as he delayed, Solholm Johansen blocked the striker’s attempted curling effort in towards the far post.

Motherwell were soon on the offensive themselves and Donnelly latched onto a lay-off from van Veen at the edge of the box, only to drag his shot wide of goal.

Striker van Veen has been in great form for the hosts in recent weeks, scoring four goals in his last four outings prior to this evening and he had an early opportunity from a free kick on the edge of our box. The towering forward went for powerful and failed to make a clean connection and that allowed Matt Macey to make a comfortable save.

The blustery, wet conditions made playing conditions very difficult for both teams with over and under hit passes the order of the day, as the players struggled to adapt to the high winds.

We were dominating possession without finding the necessary penetration to test goalkeeper Kelly, whilst the home side were offering a little more in attack.

In fact, they should have taken the lead on 27 minutes after Macey had denied Connor Shields following a corner kick and as the loose ball dropped kindly for van Veen at the back post, he appeared to snatch at his shot and sliced it wide of the target with the goal at his mercy.

After the break there was little change to the balance of play with Motherwell doing more in the final third than ourselves.

On 55 minutes Newell twice had to block efforts in quick succession from Donnelly and Stephen O’Donnell as Motherwell pressed for an opening.

Our best attacks came from quick counter attacks and a surging run from Josh Doig down the left nearly set up Nisbet for a tap in, had it not been for a last-gasp clearance from Maguire.

We had opportunities ourselves with Josh Campbell getting on the end of Newell corner before Drey Wright had the ball taken off his toes after being set up by Chris Cadden.

With 18 minutes remaining Motherwell were reduced to 10 men when Donnelly slid through the back of Wright and it was a decision that Steelmen boss, Graham Alexander, disagreed with a little too vociferously as he too was given his marching orders by referee Andrew Dallas.

Maloney made positive changes trying to make our numerical advantage count with Ewen Henderson, Doidge and Mitchell all thrown on.

Those changes very nearly proved decisive as Henderson angled a shot, inches wide of the far post before Doidge got on the end of a Cadden through ball and got too much on his finish as he lifted it over Kelly and the Motherwell crossbar.

Motherwell’s best chance to snatch the points came from set pieces in the final quarter-of-an-hour with van Veen having a free kick deflected over the top before Bushiri blocked Sean Goss’ shot from the eventual corner kick.

In the end, both teams were made to settle for a share of the spoils with Bushiri a stand-out as he produced a colossal performance at the back as we leave Lanarkshire with a point.

Motherwell: Kelly, O’Donnell, Solholm, Carroll, McGinley, Goss, Maguire, Donnelly, Shields (Tierney 66’, (Slattery 85’)), Roberts (Shaw 84’), van Veen. Substitutes not used: Fox, Woolery, Ojala, Amaluzor, Cornelius, Nirennold.

Hibernian: Macey, McGinn, Bushiri, Stevenson (Henderson 76’), Cadden, Doyle-Hayes, Newell (Doidge 82’), Campbell (Mitchell 76’), Doig, Mueller (Wright 62’), Nisbet. Substitutes not used: Dabrowski, Murphy, Allan, McGregor, Scott.

Referee: Andrew Dallas.