Motherwell 3-0 Accies

The Premiership season ended with us finishing in 10th, and safe, remaining in the top flight for a 5th successive season, something we haven’t achieved since the heady days of the 1930s.

Despite finishing with a poor run of results, it was the earlier wins at Easter Road, Dens, Ibrox and Fir Park that proved vital, along with being in the top 6 for goalscorers in the league.

Mark Gillespie reports from Fir Park

Motherwell 3 Hamilton Academical 0 
Ladbrokes Premiership
Saturday 12th May 2018 at 3pm
at Fir Park, Motherwell

Accies have confirmed top flight football for a fifth successive season, but just not in the style we would have wanted. Goals in either half by Ciftci and an Aldred strike were enough to secure the derby spoils and seventh spot for the hosts. 

In the end we survive in the Premiership courtesy of a nine goal advantage over Partick Thistle. There was little at stake other than the local bragging rights, but a lacklustre Accies performance was a sour way to sign off the season for Martin Canning. For the Accies boss the hard work now begins as we look to rebuild for the new season. 

“This close season is going to be the biggest transition since I’ve been manager. This season we’ve managed to put a squad together good enough to stay in the premier league. I’m confident we can do that again.” 

“For me today too many of our players weren’t at the level we should be. It wasn’t our strongest eleven, but that’s no excuse. Today was an opportunity for some players to show what they can do.” 

“The last run of games hasn’t been good enough, and it culminates in today. It’s a performance that puts you down, but also opens your eyes on what we need to do. I want to be in this league winning games. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have that desire.” 

Barring the incredible there was a sense that we had all but booked our place in the Premiership for another season before kick off. ‘Well meanwhile had half an eye on next weekend’s Scottish Cup Final. 

With that in mind, Stephen Robinson made a total of eight changes from his midweek line up. Only ex Accie Hendrie (on loan from Southend), Aldred and Turnbull survived from the win at Firhill.  

We meanwhile made four changes from the defeat to St Johnstone. David Templeton, Danny Redmond and Ross Jenkins didn’t make the Accies squad, with first starts given to Mickel Miller and Charlie Scott. Antonio Rojano started up front. Lifelong Accies fan Lewis Smith, 18, was on the bench for the first time.

The ‘Well still carried most of the early momentum. Turnbull tested Ryan Fulton’s handling with the first effort on 10 minutes, playing a neat one two with Ciftci on the edge of the box, but the Accies keeper tipped over. 

Ciftci looked in the mood to cap probably his final game for the Steelmen, and had them ahead on 30 minutes. Play was spread down the right, and Tait worked the angle to get in a low cross across the Accies box. It seemed to have evaded everybody in the box, only for Cifci to arrive at the far post for the simplest of tap ins. 

Accies lacked that spark in the absence of Templeton and Redmond, and couldn’t find much in response. Instead it was the hosts who almost added to their lead on 40 minutes, with Aldred blazing a close range shot over the bar. 

It was a very quiet afternoon for the stand in ‘well keeper Griffiths. He watched a Mickel Miller shot sail harmlessly over from the edge of the box in the closing stages of the half, our only first half and tempt. Accies desperately needed to find some second half energy and impetus. 

We tried to make an attacking change on the hour mark, introducing Bingham and Ogkmpoe but after only five minutes the Greek striker had to be replaced after sustaining what is now known to be ligament damage.

‘Well continued to look comfortable, and courtesy of some slack Accies defending they put the game out of sight in a three minute blitz. Firstly Ciftci grabbed his second on 69 minutes after a powerful run unchallenged down the left side of the box, sliding home from a tight angle. 

Aldred added number three shortly after, as ‘Well won a free kick 35 yards out. Turnbull chipped the ball into the danger area, and Tait’s flick found Aldred to fire home from close range.  

Ciftci might rubbed more salt in Accies wounds on 80 minutes, as he saw a powerful edge of box crash off the the bar to deny him his hat trick. 

We looked a jaded and beaten side by this point as a long challenging season came to a disappointing end. A rampant ‘Well side threatened further damage into the closing stages, Turnbull one on one with Fulton on 85 minutes, but denied by the legs of the Accies keeper. 

Motherwell: Griffiths, Tait, Hendrie (Kipre, 69), Grimshaw, Bigirimana, Frear (Petravicius, 60), Aldred, Ciftci, MacLean (Brown, 72), Turnbull, Maguire; Subs Unused: Morrison, Bowman, Campbell, Gordon, Brown 

Goals: Ciftci, 30, 69, Aldred, 72 

Cautions: 

Accies: Fulton, McMann, Tomas, Scott (Bingham 56), Imrie (c), Miller, Van der Weg, MacKinnon, Rojano (Ogkmpoe 56) (Cunningham 63), Lyon, Hughes. Subs Unused: Jamieson, Smith, Tierney, Breen 

Cautions: Hughes, McMann 

Referee: Alan Muir Assistants: Joe Lawson & Gordon Crawford 4th Official: Barry Cook 

Attendance: 4699 (556 Accies)