Jim Gannon reflected the fans' disappointment in his post match comments but he was delighted with the way the team played. Craigan was on the bench following his international exertions and Saunders and Reynolds had the job of marshalling the Rangers' strikers. They coped admirably and young Saunders deserves special mention for his contribution.
The new manager's philosophy was clear to see from the outset. We were content to build from the back and pass the ball to midfield and beyond. The full width of the pitch stretched between Hammell and O'Brien on the left and Moutaouakil who spend much of the game high on the right wing.
O'Brien takes the penalty, McGregor saves
The home crowd got early encouragement from the corner we earned with only one minute on the clock. Motherwell had the best of the first half and we enjoyed controlled possession for many spells but no goal was forthcoming. Sutton had a couple of headed attempts in front of the packed South Stand while Ruddy had to punch clear as Papac attempted a header.
Jennings replaced Murphy at half time and the visitors began to have the upper hand. Our defence was tested with several scrambles close to our goal line but Ruddy stood firm. Not only are Motherwell fans comforted to know that we have adopted a stylish approach to the game but we have found a gem of a keeper. Let's hope for news that his loan spell is to be extended.
Fir Park - perfect surface, new South Stand banner
As the game moved on both teams shuffled heir packs in an attempt to gain the opening goal. With fifteen minutes remaining Moutaouakil delivered a peach of a cross and Coke was perfectly positioned to attack the ball with his head. He ball flew high when it seemed that anything on target would have found the net.
Jutkiewicz replaced Sutton and inside five minutes he earned a penalty when Bougherra's slack tackle resulted in Dougie McDonald pointing to the spot. Mayhem followed. The referee was swamped with protests and the defender was booked twice for his over the top protests. Rangers were reduced to ten men and O'Brien (looking more nervous by the second) stepped up with a chance to win the game.
McGregor read the shot correctly and pushed it away diving to his left. Despite a couple of spirited charges in added time we failed to score and for the second game in succession the game finished 0-0.