Sunday, 15 August 2010
Day Eight: Motherwell (Fir Park)
Motherwell v Hibernian
August 15th (12 noon Kick-off)
Nice easy 10.30am start today for the short journey over to Motherwell. A short walk to the ground and we arrive at Fir Park about a quarter of an hour before kick off for our first game of the new SPL season. I'm in a great mood after the Aberdeen result yesterday (that's the team I follow in case any of you didn't know). It's our first win at home on the opening day for sixteen years.It was also a record breaking day as Paul Hartley became the first player in the SPL to score a hat-trick on his debut. Sorry I'm getting off track but with facts like these I hope you forgive me.
We take our seat in the Motherwell end as close to the Hibs fans as possible without sitting in with the die-hard supporters. It doesn't take long for the singing to start with the Motherwell supporters belting out 'We're all going on a European tour' to the tune of The Beatles Yellow Submarine - a dig at the fact Hibs got knocked out of the Europa League whilst Motherwell are still in it.
For an opening game of the season it's a surprise to see that Hibs fans have only been given the lower half of the away stand and vast areas of the main stand empty. My dad, who's a fountain of knowledge for all things concerning Scottish football, tells me that back in 1962 Motherwell sold two players to Liverpool and with the money they received they decided to build a stand. They built the framework the full length of the pitch but homeowners behind the ground complained and Motherwell Council sided with them. As a result, Motherwell were only allowed to built it to 3/4's of it's original size (you can see the extra steel framework in the photo above) and it gets worse, as many Motherwell fans felt the money should have been spent on players, they refused to sit in the newly constructed stand. To this day many Motherwell fans still refuse to sit there.
On to your favourite part of the blog; the Pie Report. It seems that it's no longer a half time treat, although this time my Dad claims 'its lunchtime isn't it?' After the high scoring pie at Ross County yesterday, Motherwell have a lot to live up to - and they do just that. My dad scores it 7.5/10, making the Motherwell Pie jump to the top of the leaderboard. According to him 'the crust is almost perfect, temperature is spot on and the meaty-based filling is 'not too salty'.
The first half starts with a flourish and Anthony Stokes of Hibs is unfortunate to see the Motherwell keeper's big toe stick a 5th minute effort past the post. Motherwell come back into the game and are passing the ball around effortlessly on the newly relaid Motherwell pitch. They spent £350,000 on it two summers back and a further £100,000 on it this summer and they're rewarded with a 13th minute goal from John Sutton. This brought rapturous roars from the home fans and they continued to berate the away support with various takes on the aforementioned Europa League defeat suffered by Hibernian.
Motherwell were in complete control of the first half and, with the excellent play of Murphy and Humphrey, really should have capitalised on all their possession to have gone two or three up. As it was, in the second of the three added first half minutes, a Riordan free kick was headed down by Samba to Stokes who smashed the ball home. It was really against the run of play and probably undeserved. Would it however be a catalyst for a better Hibs performance in the second half?
We were treated to a number of half- time messages but to be honest I couldn't understand any of it as it was if the announcer had his foot stuck on a reverb. button and the sound echoed around the ground. The goal at the end of the half had finally woken the quiet away support and we were treated to the 'Hibees, Hibees' chant, the Motherwell supporters replying with the traditional 'Shite, Shite' response. Such wit I hear you say.
The second half started and it seemed as though whatever 'hair-dryer' treatment 'Yogi' Hughes had given his players seemed to work as Hibs came out much brighter than the previous half. Stokes should have scored only three minutes in but his curling drive was pushed round the post. The impressive Humphrey's then saw his cross-come-shot bounce back off the inside of the post for Motherwell.
Hibs then scored a contentious second from a Riordan corner, from where I and many irate Motherwell fans were sat it looked like the Motherwell keeper was blocked before a Hibs player (Hanlon) put it in with his hand. The referee who to his credit was a lot closer than me didn't see it this way and the goal stood.
Motherwell then had a stone wall penalty turn denied when Sutton was felled in the box. To the disgust of the home support Hibs promptly marched up the other end and Liam Miller scored a sweet third goal nutmegging the keeper in the process.
Motherwell were thrown a way back into the game two minutes later when the referee awarded a penalty, perhaps to make amends for the one he failed to give earlier and Jamie Murphy stepped up and scored. Where we going to be treated to another result similar to the last time these two teams played here - a six all draw!
Motherwell pushed forward to find the equalizer and it was surprising to see some home fans leaving with five minutes to go when their side were still in with a shout of the draw. There was however no goal to be found and Hibs left Fir Park with all three points.
All in all an enjoyable start to the SPL campaign and both of these sides played some good football, it's a shame they both didn't do it in the same half.
A final point must go to the SFA, who this week fined Motherwell £50,000 for the horrendous playing surface they've had here for the past two seasons, only to announce that £45,000 of
this would be suspended. What's the point in telling them off with 90% of the original figure?
Ticket Price: £18 (£14 concession)
Pie Marks: 7.5/10
Man of the Match: Dad -Liam Miller (Hibernian) Me - Jamie Murphy (Motherwell)
Final Score: Motherwell 2 - Hibernian 3
Mileage: 70 miles
Fact of the Day: Oldest Manager in Scotland - Craig Brown 70 years young.
Next game: Elgin City - Borough Briggs (21st August)