A fairly even first half ended with a hesitation in the Motherwell defence as Hammell claimed for an offside flag when Riordan's pass gave Stokes the opportunity of a shot. The flag failed to appear and the shot beat Ruddy. It was a costly slip as there was little between the teams to that point.
Poor stuff today
Both keepers had been called into action as the game developed. Makalambay made several double handed punched clearances and he had to produce a brilliant reflex save to prevent a header from Saunders levelling the game just before the half time whistle. Ruddy answered at the other end with two fine saves. The first was a one handed stop form Rankin and within an minute he had to tip another effort over the bar.
Gannon made a double substitution at the break. O'Brien and Lasley were introduced and Sutton and Forbes were left in the changing room. It was a bold decision but it failed completely. The result was a congested midfield and an isolated striker. When we had possession at the back there was little forward movement. Lots of square passing resulted in a punt to Jutkiewicz but his lonesome task was made impossible due to the close attentions of a pair of defenders and a lack of support from his own side.
We lost the second goal ten minutes into the second period. Stokes' shot took a high deflection and Ruddy had no chance of preventing the ball sailing into the net. What followed was not pretty. Our confidence seemed to disappear and Hibs controlled the game. Our passing started to go wayward and we were caught in possession time after time.
Makalambay was a spectator for long spells and we were fortunate to escape without further loss. Murphy looked lively at times and one burst into the box was brought to an abrupt end with what looked like a clear foul. Ian Brines took the view that our man had gone down too easily and booked the youngster. That summed up our luck for the day.
The manager retired to his dugout for almost all the second half and the players were left to get on with it on their own. It was hardly a surprise to hear that he refused media interviews after the match.
With an Old Firm double header ahead it would appear that much work needs to be done to find a way for our passing game to deliver the goal scoring attempts which were sadly lacking today.