Motherwell manager Graham Alexander has praised his players after they were left ‘gutted’ following a 4-2 penalty shootout exit from the Scottish Cup at the quarter-final stage against Hibs.
The Easter Road side were 2-0 up with 11 minutes to go but Tony Watt’s appearance from the bench following a short injury lay-off inspired Motherwell. Ricki Lamie scored before Watt leveled, taking the game to extra-time then penalties before Hibs’ Ryan Porteous scored the decisive kick after Mark O’Hara and Steven Lawless missed for ‘Well.
Watt wasn’t likely to make it at Easter Road but Alexander says the striker pushed himself through: “Tony was a gamble for us. If it was a league game we wouldn’t have done it because we’re safe now. Because it was the cup, it was win or bust. Tony put himself forward and only trained on Friday afternoon, which was light.
“We thought it was worth having him in the squad. He wanted to play which was a surprise to me because I didn’t expect to have him back. Even if he can’t train for a couple of weeks, we felt it was worth going for it. And Tony really helped us when he came on.”
Alexander was proud of his players’ effort at Easter Road despite the cup exit, believing Hibs’ second goal scored by Jackson Irvine was offside: “I’m gutted for everyone because I thought the players were magnificent. We came with a game plan to frustrate at first which worked really well. Hibs didn’t have a shot on target in the first half.
“We took a step back at half-time for some reason. We allowed them easy possession in our half and we were punished for it, sorely with a couple of goals. But the reaction from that point was absolutely amazing. The players showed character to get on the ball, press from the front and show what a quality team we can be.
“To come back against a fantastic team like Hibs away from home in such a pressure game, to get to 2-2, was incredible. I thought there was only one winner at that point, but we just couldn’t get that goal before penalties.” Their second goal was offside. I’ve only seen it afterwards, not at the time. But it’s offside. What can you do?”
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