As expected McCall had more than one eye on next week’s meeting with Celtic at Hampden and there were five changes from our last outing. Out went Randolph, Craigan, Lasley, Jennings and Sutton and in came Hollis, Gunning, Forbes, Jeffers and Carswell. It was a debut for Hollis and the third first team appearance for Carswell.
Stevie Hammell had the captain’s armband and he took charge of a very young side. Any concerns about throwing the untried Hollis into the cauldron were soon forgotten as he delivered a series of good stops early in the game. We came out the blocks well and Humphrey robbed Izaguirre to give Jones a clear shot from 18 yards but the winger pulled his effort wide.
Just one of many Celtic attempts
Hollis showed his worth with two saves from Samaras the Hooper before Hutchison gave us hope with a header hust over the top from a Hateley corner. Unfortunately there wasn’t much more of Motherwell in an attacking sense for the rest of the half. Jeffers, in the lone striking role was detached from most of the action.
We were two down at the break and could hardly complain. Hooper got the first just on the half hour with a toe poke to Hollis’ left corner and ten minutes later Samaras added to the deficit with a clinical finish from ten yards.
Any remote chance of a comeback disappeared in 52 minutes when Maloney scored Celtic’s third. The pace of the game slackened with the result not in doubt. We had a scare after an hour when Hutchison started limping following a defensive challenge. He was soon replaced by Page and we shuffled positions to accommodate the change. McHugh then came on for Humphrey.
Home team kept up the pressure and McCourt made the score 4-0 when he was given space in the centre of the box. Casagolda came on to give some relief to Jeffers as the game entered the final fifteen minutes.
McCall will be keen to check out the bumps and bruises to discover if his cup final plans remain intact. Celtic will face a much stiffer test next week!