Motherwell's Scottish Cup hopes ended with a toothless display against an Aberdeen side that combined a nine man defence with good finishing. Higdon's consolation penalty came too late to offer any prospect of a recovery and the Dons go through 2-1.
As expected, Randolph replaced Hollis but the omission of Law was to be a severe handicap although Carswell fought hard when he was called up. Motherwell dominated the first half but we conceded two within fifteen minutes of the restart and never looked like recovering.
It all looked fine as the game settled into the expected pattern. Motherwell had most of the possession but the build up play was too studied and methodical Carswell had the first attempt , a low drive from the right side of the box, Higdon followed with a header over the top and, later, Murphy cut in from the left and blasted high into the South Stand.
A half hour passed before the visitors saw sight of our goal and Hayes' 25 yard strike forced Randolph to tip over the bar. A Fallon header before the break gave an indication of what was to come.
Fallon scored in 50 minutes when he fired a half clearance high beyond the 'keeper from the edge of the area. Randolph then produced a couple of first class saves as Aberdeen looked to add a second. Our confidence had been rocked and we were unable to hold the ball and set up the attacks as in the first half. Passes went astray and it was no surprise to see Shaugnessy arrive at the far post to sweep home and secure the tie.
Aberdeen then erected a wall of white clad defenders (often six abreast) across their back line and we were simply unable to breach it. There was no inspiration, no guile, no deft one-two to offer a clear shot at goal, indeed our only effort before the 90 minutes had appeared on the stadium clock was a Hutchinson header from a Hateley corner.
McCall threw on Francis-Angol and McHugh with 20 minutes remaining, then Kerr joined in for the final 5 minutes but it looked as though we could play for a week without scoring. A careless handball a minute into added time gave Higdon a spot kick and although Langfield got a solid touch the ball crossed the line for the consolation.
So the sad tale of the season is that we've played seven cup games (2x Champions League, 2x Europa League, 1x League Cup and 2x Scottish Cup) and have not recorded a win. As the old saying goes....now we can concentrate on the league.