The game was dominated by the dreadful surface. Neither team was able to keep the ball on the deck as random divots and holes caused havoc. Long balls were lumped from end to end as defenders forgot about playing through the midfield and cleared their lines to minimise the chance of an embarrassing mistake.
Tom Hateley tries with a free kick
There was one change to the starting eleven with Coke replacing Fitzpatrick. Fitz was given the nod in the second half when we made a defensive switch but he lasted less than five minutes before an injury caused him to be replaced with Saunders.
Ruddy does his gardening
A dire first half finished with the spectators shaking heads at the lack of entertainment. There were no clear cut chances. Motherwell had most of the ball but Cerny coped easily with the half chances. Coke pulled an early chance wide, O'Brien and Hately combined well to deliver a tempting cross, Jutkiewicz snatched wide and a Hately free kick from 25 yards curled wide.
Ruddy delivered another commanding show and he plucked ball after ball from the air. His concern about the state of the pitch was shown by his appearance five minutes before the restart to allow Stuart Kerr to fire low shots into the new turf in front of the South stand goal.
We started brightly in the second half. Hateley tested Cerny inside
a minute and O'Brien's one-two with Sutton earned a shot. Accies had their moment when they took advantage of referee Tumulty's strange award of a free kick against Hammell (followed by a crazy booking). A corner followed and we were lucky to escape following a scramble.
The winning goal came on 67 minutes when a hately corner was headed on by Craigan. The ball fell kindly to Jutkiewicz and his determination earned a chance. He had to stretch but he managed to prod the ball into the net. Cue celebrations!
It was not a surprise to see manager Brown make a series of substitutions with a view to shutting up shop. We had a few scary moments but survived to claim our fourth win in five. Our top six place has been consolidated and we can look forward to the visit of Rangers on Wednesday. They'll love the experience of playing at Fir Park!