Stevie Hammell was welcomed back to the starting line up but Porter was missing. Motherwell kicked off facing the Cooper end for a change and it was immediately clear that we were intending to play passing football despite the suspect surface.
This Hammell free kick forced a great save
A fine move gave McGarry the first of many chances that we were to create throughout the game. He had a flick on the six yard line and came close. Clarkson made several runs though the defensive line and the midfielders were quick to supply the ball. He had a good penalty claim turned down before Lilley hauled him down after twenty minutes. There was no doubt about the foul but the defence reacted poorly to the referee's decision.
McCormack took the kick but hit it with little conviction and it trundled wide of the left hand post. Combe did little to defuse the tension with his reaction to the home crowd and he gathered the ball for the ensuing goal kick.
We reached the break still level but clearly the better team. We were first to the ball and showed no reaction to the long layoff.
Not long into the second period Clarkson produced another perfectly timed run and gathered a long ball from Craigan as it arrived over his shoulder. He was in the clear, only ten yards out, but his first touch only delivered the ball to the keeper.
A floating wall
Meanwhile on the left wing, Hammell, reunited with his fans in the east stand, played like he had never been away. He defended well and showed an eagerness attack with caused the opposition some concern. His determination produced our best move of the match when he escaped the attention of two blue striped shirts on the halfway line. He ploughed over the newly turfed area to deliver a fine. Pacy pass to McCormack. The striker dummied and Clarkson returned the ball to him. His shot was off target but the move deserved better.
The pressure on the south stand goal was incessant but there was no breakthrough. With around twenty minutes remaining we set off on another run. The referee allowed advantage when a wild Invincible tackle brought down Hughes but then Fowler and then Lilley produced crazy lunges against Clarkson and McCormack and the referee booked them both. It was Lilley's second so he walked.
Killie gave up any pretence of attack and sat in to defend. A wonderful free kick from Hammell forced an excellent save from Combe and it seemed that we would not get the goal. Lappin replaced McCormack and with a few minutes to go Smith and Murphy were thrown on for McGarry and McCormack.
The fourth official had already shown the three minute signal when Lappin floated a cross from the left. Clarkson rose, headed and found the net. He charged towards the east stand and was joined in the celebrations by the rest of the team. It was our first SPL game at
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