Scottish Premiership
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Motherwell 2-3 Hibernian: Visitors claim thrilling opening win

By Martin WattBBC Scotland
Motherwell v Hibernian
Martin Boyle's penalty was enough to earn Hibs the win

Hibernian fans played a "massive part" in their team's thrilling comeback victory at Motherwell, says head coach Jack Ross.

Martin Boyle's penalty gave Hibs a winning Premiership start at raucous Fir Park as supporters returned to Scottish stadia on opening weekend.

Kyle Magennis and substitute Christian Doidge equalised after Motherwell twice led through Kevin van Veen and Bevis Mugabi headers.

"I enjoyed fans being back," said Ross.

"There was definitely a different intensity to the fixture.

"Especially when we were shooting towards our own fans in the second half, it helped us without a shadow of a doubt. They played a massive part in that game."

It was Hibs' fifth successive opening-day top-flight win, while Motherwell last started with three points in 2016.

The visitors were missing highly-rated left-back Josh Doig, with the 19-year-old on the brink of a move.

Hibs didn't concede a headed goal in last season's Premiership campaign as they finished third behind the Old Firm. Yet they lost two in 17 minutes here as defensive frailty threatened to negate their attacking verve.

Motherwell jolted the visitors to life when the unmarked Van Veen sent a downward header past Matt Macey. The defending was poor, but the whipped left-wing cross from Jake Carroll was terrific.

Hibs responded swiftly and Jamie Murphy's scuffed shot from a Paul McGinn cutback fell perfectly via a deflection for Magennis to poke into the net.

The pace of the game was unrelenting and Hibs were the more cohesive attacking unit. Paul Hanlon sent a header narrowly too high, then Murphy broke clear to blaze a chip over with goalkeeper Liam Kelly well off his line.

However, it was Motherwell who regained the initiative, with Carroll again the architect. His floated free-kick found Mugabi to head in at the near post, with both Hibs midfielder Alex Gogic and goalkeeper Macey culpable.

Magennis had a strong penalty shout turned down after being barged by Carroll, who enjoyed another stroke of fortune when he grabbed Boyle by the shirt but avoided a second yellow.

Kelly showed why Motherwell were so keen to sign him permanently, producing a stunning fingertip save to deny Murphy as the frantic pace continued after the interval.

Motherwell almost caught Hibs on the counter-attack when Van Veen released fellow striker Kaiyne Woolery, but Macey made a key save.

Hibs' tactical switch, sacrificing holding midfielder Gogic for striker Doidge and going 4-4-2, quickly paid dividends when the Welsh striker slid to to convert the rebound after Kevin Nisbet struck a post.

Nisbet was again pivotal as Hibs finally led for the first time. The striker's shot struck the outstretched hand of Stephen O'Donnell, and Boyle tucked the penalty into the left-hand corner.

Motherwell's Barry Maguire could have provided a final twist in a breathless contest, but fired too high deep into injury time and Hibs could finally relax.

Man of the match - Kevin Nisbet

Kevin Nisbet
The striker was unlucky not to score and his link-up play and touch stood out

What did we learn?

This pulsating contest will take some beating for entertainment value. Hibs threw caution to the wind and look primed to build on last season's third-place finish, providing Doig's departure isn't followed by the loss of other prize assets.

Motherwell's spirited showing also offers positives, particularly the scoring league debut of Van Veen. The Dutch striker provides a focal point in attack and is nifty with the ball at feet too, with a slaloming second-half run lapped up by the home support.

What did they say?

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander: "I'd like us to have done some things better, from a defensive point of view, but I thought my team were excellent.

"We offered lots of attacking threat and really committed to the game. Kevin van Veen was exceptional."

Hibs head coach Jack Ross: "Even though we were behind at half-time, I was really pleased with what we produced, although we didn't defend our box well enough on two occasions.

"Overall, for us to produce that kind of performance after being involved in Europe on Thursday was brilliant."

What's next?

Hibs are in Europa Conference League qualifying first-leg action at home to Rijeka on Thursday (19:45 BST), while Motherwell are away to St Johnstone in the Premiership next Sunday (15:00).

Player of the match

DoidgeChristian Doidge

with an average of 7.11

Motherwell

  1. Squad number9Player namevan Veen
    Average rating

    6.31

  2. Squad number2Player nameO'Donnell
    Average rating

    5.92

  3. Squad number1Player nameKelly
    Average rating

    5.77

  4. Squad number16Player nameSlattery
    Average rating

    5.70

  5. Squad number32Player nameWatt
    Average rating

    5.69

  6. Squad number22Player nameDonnelly
    Average rating

    5.68

  7. Squad number7Player nameWoolery
    Average rating

    5.52

  8. Squad number6Player nameMaguire
    Average rating

    5.51

  9. Squad number5Player nameMugabi
    Average rating

    5.46

  10. Squad number3Player nameCarroll
    Average rating

    5.41

  11. Squad number4Player nameLamie
    Average rating

    5.37

  12. Squad number11Player nameLawless
    Average rating

    4.94

  13. Squad number17Player nameAmaluzor
    Average rating

    3.67

Hibernian

  1. Squad number9Player nameDoidge
    Average rating

    7.11

  2. Squad number15Player nameNisbet
    Average rating

    6.94

  3. Squad number10Player nameBoyle
    Average rating

    6.84

  4. Squad number7Player nameMagennis
    Average rating

    6.55

  5. Squad number11Player nameNewell
    Average rating

    6.50

  6. Squad number18Player nameMurphy
    Average rating

    6.45

  7. Squad number22Player nameDoyle-Hayes
    Average rating

    6.37

  8. Squad number16Player nameStevenson
    Average rating

    6.34

  9. Squad number4Player nameHanlon
    Average rating

    6.28

  10. Squad number32Player nameCampbell
    Average rating

    6.25

  11. Squad number1Player nameMacey
    Average rating

    6.16

  12. Squad number5Player namePorteous
    Average rating

    6.10

  13. Squad number6Player nameMcGinn
    Average rating

    5.98

  14. Squad number13Player nameGogic
    Average rating

    5.98

Line-ups

Motherwell

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1KellyBooked at 70mins
  • 2O'DonnellBooked at 69mins
  • 5Mugabi
  • 4Lamie
  • 3CarrollBooked at 22mins
  • 16SlatteryBooked at 31minsSubstituted forAmaluzorat 74'minutes
  • 22Donnelly
  • 6Maguire
  • 7WoolerySubstituted forLawlessat 84'minutes
  • 9van VeenBooked at 55mins
  • 32Watt

Substitutes

  • 11Lawless
  • 12Fox
  • 14Ojala
  • 15O'Connor
  • 17Amaluzor
  • 19McGinley
  • 20Crawford

Hibernian

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Macey
  • 6McGinn
  • 5PorteousBooked at 76mins
  • 4HanlonBooked at 48mins
  • 16StevensonBooked at 59mins
  • 11Newell
  • 13GogicSubstituted forDoidgeat 54'minutes
  • 10Boyle
  • 7MagennisSubstituted forCampbellat 84'minutes
  • 18MurphySubstituted forDoyle-Hayesat 65'minutes
  • 15Nisbet

Substitutes

  • 9Doidge
  • 17MacKay
  • 21Dabrowski
  • 22Doyle-Hayes
  • 23Allan
  • 24McGregor
  • 32Campbell
Referee:
David Munro
Attendance:
5,230

Match Stats

Home TeamMotherwellAway TeamHibernian
Possession
Home43%
Away57%
Shots
Home9
Away14
Shots on Target
Home5
Away5
Corners
Home2
Away4
Fouls
Home21
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Motherwell 2, Hibernian 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Motherwell 2, Hibernian 3.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Barry Maguire (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Steven Lawless.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Joe Newell (Hibernian).

  5. Post update

    Stephen O'Donnell (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Liam Donnelly (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Stephen O'Donnell.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Jake Carroll.

  8. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Josh Campbell (Hibernian) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Christian Doidge.

  9. Post update

    Ryan Porteous (Hibernian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Kevin van Veen (Motherwell).

  11. Post update

    Kevin Nisbet (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Ricki Lamie (Motherwell).

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ryan Porteous (Hibernian) header from the right side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Josh Campbell with a cross following a corner.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Barry Maguire.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Hibernian. Josh Campbell replaces Kyle Magennis.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Motherwell. Steven Lawless replaces Kaiyne Woolery.

  17. Post update

    Attempt saved. Tony Watt (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jake Carroll.

  18. Booking

    Ryan Porteous (Hibernian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Porteous (Hibernian).

  20. Post update

    Tony Watt (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

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