Jim Gannon surprised a few with his line up at the Excelsioir. Hammell was benched and O'Brien found himself at right back. The two new boys got their starts and did well, though
Jamie Murphy scores again
Motherwell had to wait almost fifteen minutes for the opener, then floodgates opened. The early exchanges made it clear that O'Brien is no right back and Fraser did well to get a foot to a shot which almost sneaked in at his right hand post but they crumbled at the first pressure point.
A Forbes free kick caused chaos in their six yard box and it seemed that we must score as the ball was twice cleared from their goal line. Three corners followed and the reward came when Murphy forced it over from close range.
The second came after Hutchison made a defensive header in our box. Slane (who was in impressive form) collected at the halfway line and charged into the box with a defender in pursuit. His attempt hit the post but Murphy was on hand to finish the move. A Slane rocket following good work from
Murphy sealed his hat trick with a half hit effort which saw the goalie open his legs to concede the fifth. Hutchison got in on the act with number six when he got a telling touch on a free kick into the box. Half time arrived and we were ahead 6-0. Incredible.
The second half could not live up to the excitement of the first but we managed another two. Forbes hammered a first timer from Sutton's lay off and scored probably the best of the night from outside the box. We conceded a slack one when a ball over the top allowed Flumatari a consolation. McHugh, newly on the park, got in on the act for number eight as the keeper made a complete mess of collecting a floating ball.
Had that game been a 'meaningless' pre-season friendly we would dismiss the night's efforts as a mere training exercise but this was the second round of a European competition. The team deserve credit for their performance and they can look forward to next week's encounter in
Motherwell: Fraser, Hutchinson, Craigan, Reynolds, O'Brien, Humphrey, Forbes, Jennings, Slane, Sutton, Murphy.
Subs: Kosiorowski, Hammell, Lasley, McGarry, Page, McHugh, Saunders.