Despite leading twice Motherwell conceded three to Hibs to lose the season opener at Fir Park.
There was a great atmosphere with five and a half thousand fans completely involved in a five goal thriller in the summer sunshine. Kevin Van Veen scored his first for the club to take an early lead , Magennis equalised before Bevis Mugabi’s header regained the lead that lasted ten minutes into the second half. Doidge scrambled a second equaliser before Stephen O’Donnell fell foul of the handball rule and the game was lost when Boyle converted from the spot.
For the first time in eighteen months the roar of the Fir Park crowd greeted the teams for the unusual 1630 kick-off. Van Veen got proceedings underway and he delivered a man of the match performance as he led the claret an amber attack. His reward came when he headed Jake Carroll’s chipped cross beyond Macey.
The lead lasted only five minutes when Magennis slid in to beat Liam Kelly. The game flowed from one end to the other and when Carroll’s 30 yard free kick floated to the far post Mugabi rose to head down and into the net. 2-1 and barely half an hour had passed.
Callum Slattery on his first start showed some potential and Liam Donnelly got a full 90 minutes in more than a year.
Hibs started the second half on the front foot and Kelly produced a fine stop from Gogic before the second equaliser arrived. Kaiyne Woolery may regret his finishing when he collected a perfect through ball from Van Veen but, with only the ‘keeper to beat, his effort was not on the mark.
Doidge, just on the park, was on hand to tap in after a shot rebounded of the opposite post and the teams were level again.
Motherwell never recovered from the loss of the second goal although Stephen O’Donnell bashed an effort into the side net.
The captain had a shot from Nisbet strike his arm and the referee awarded the penalty. Boyle scored to Kelly’s left.
It was a tough learning lesson for Motherwell. To lead twice and lose the game will hurt. But the team is still under construction and they will look to redress the balance at McDiarmid Park next week.
Motherwell 2 Hibs 3
Team: Kelly, S. O’Donnell, Lamie, Mugabi, Carroll, Donnelly, Maguire, Slattery (Amaluzor 73), Van Veen, Watt, Woolery (Lawless 83)
Sunday 1 August 2021