A Jordan Roberts-inspired display helped Motherwell on their way to a crucial 2-0 win away to Hibs.
The Hearts loanee scored one in the first half and then assisted Devante Cole in the second 45 as Hibs’ four-game winning streak was ended by the Steelmen, who move seven points clear of the Scottish Premiership relegation zone, the Hibees remaining third.
Motherwell may not have scored in their previous couple of matches prior to this but they had plenty of first half-chances. Roberts had an attempt off the back of a mistake in the Hibs backline while Tony Watt smashed the side-netting from six yards out, an Allan Campbell attempt blocked too.
It was, somewhat ironically, Roberts who opened the scoring. On loan from Hearts, he raced through on goal after a Watt pass to score his first in claret and amber following a Deadline Day switch from the maroon side of Edinburgh. It was no less than Graham Alexander’s men deserved after a strong start to the match.
Jack Ross’ side had won four on the spin prior to this and were certainly the form team out of the two, Motherwell with one win in five. Victory in this fixture would be another boost in the Easter Road quest for third, but it was the Steelmen scrapping for Premiership survival who had the opening opportunities and they made one count.
Josh Doig was missing at left-back for Hibs after signing his new deal until 2025 earlier in the week but the ever-reliable Lewis Stevenson was creating the most Hibs opportunities, putting one on a plate for former Well man Cadden to volley but his shot went narrowly over. There were left-back issues for ‘Well too as Jake Carroll was substituted after a heavy head knock.
Alexander’s men were asking questions of Hibs, playing the counter-attack effectively. The Well have taken points off every member of the current top six outside Celtic this season and again were matching, and in large parts bettering, a team at the right end of the Premiership table.
Roberts was causing Hibs all sorts of problems and he created Motherwell’s second minutes after the interval. He drove at the home backline with a combination of headers and passes before squaring the ball to Cole, who slotted past Ofir Marciano to give the Fir Park club a comfortable lead.
Ross made three changes to try and turn the tide of the match but Alexander’s team were already in the ascendency. Their pace in the final third had proven too much, Roberts Cole and Watt creating plenty of issues for Hibs.
Joe Newell and Christian Doidge in particular tried to get their side back into things but Motherwell had managed more than enough to seal an impressive three points, although they ended their game without a manager as Alexander was sent off by referee Alan Muir. Here are three things we learned.
Hearts may look on with a wry smile after Roberts’ contribution on the other side of the capital. He was Motherwell’s main man at Easter Road, playing a part in all the goals and creating several more opportunities.
His first start away to St Mirren was impressive but here he added end product, which could be vital as the Fir Park club create a gap between themselves and the relegation spots.
Brought to a halt
Hibs had been on good form heading into this but a decent run of four straight victories was brought to a halt. Motherwell looked quicker in attack in the first half and an early goal after half-time gave Hibs too steep a mountain to climb.
It’s a sore one for Ross, who’s side had a chance to pull away from Aberdeen at the top end of the table.
There was plenty to gain for both teams in this fixture but perhaps it was more of a crucial clash for Motherwell. Every victory is key at the bottom and this moves them eight clear of bottom, especially vital after Kilmarnock and Ross County dropped points too.
For Hibs, there isn’t too much damage done in their push for third, Aberdeen’s loss at Celtic Park meaning they remain four clear. But it’s an opportunity missed in terms of building a sizeable advantage.
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