Darren Smith was left on the bench to allow Steven Hughes a return to the starting line up and we kicked off facing the South Stand and most of the swirling wind. It was clear from the outset that silky football was not going to be a feature of the afternoon and Hearts pressed us from the outset.
Craigan clears successfully this time!
Smith had to be alert to deflect Nade's attempt from eight yards in the second minute but we lost the goal ten minutes later. We had been in attacking mode inside the opposition eighteen yard box but lost possession. Clarkson had taken a head knock and was left on the ground as play flowed towards the Cooper Stand end. There were appeals for a hand ball at the halfway line was passed and with the home crowd whistling for the game to be halted Jonsson drove a low attempt from distance and Craigan's attempted clearance flew off the top of his boot and looped into the net giving Smith no chance.
We were not amused. Craig Thomson was made aware of our concern. Clarkson had to replaced shortly afterwards and Lappin was thrown on. The referee was to make several controversial decisions throughout the game and he managed to show five yellow cards in a game which never needed that degree of control.
A wee rammy
We turned and hoped that the wind would help a recovery but it was not to be. We tried to play a long ball game with Porter as the target but the tall defenders were more commanding. There were many misplaced passes and over hit balls as the pitch and strong wind turned the game into a lottery. Goal kicks too an age as the ball would not stay on the spot.
We did force Banks into a couple of saves. Craigan got a head to a McCormack corner and the keeper threw himself low and left to touch the ball away then a McCormack free kick from twenty three yards threatened. There was some drama when Banks dropped a corner kick and a melee developed on the goal line but the referee decided that a defending free kick would defuse the issue.
After the game Mark McGhee reflected that Motherwell were outfought and that the visitors probably deserved the win because they were the more aggressive team. We can only hope that the pitches at