Motherwell 1-1 Kilmarnock: Locke praises his Killie battlers

Kilmarnock manager Gary Locke backed his battling players as they earned despite playing the second half with 10 men.

Darryl Westlake was sent off for a second yellow card offence from which Scott McDonald's well-struck free-kick cancelled out Tope Obadeyi's opener.

"The way we battled in the second half, the boys deserve credit. There are nothing but positives," Locke said.

"We've got to be happy with a point when you play for so long with 10 men."

The draw is Kilmarnock's fifth in their last six Scottish Premiership games, with a 3-2 win over Dundee United on 14 February taking their unbeaten run to six.

It leaves them in eighth position, six points behind sixth-placed St Johnstone with five games remaining until the league splits.

Referee John Beaton sends off Darryl Westlake
Referee John Beaton sends off Kilmarnock's Darryl Westlake

Locke told BBC Radio Scotland: "Top six is still the target. It's going to be difficult because we're running out of games.

"We came here to get three points. When we went down to 10 men I still felt we looked dangerous.

"I can't praise the players enough - difficult conditions and a difficult pitch.

"I've been really happy with the players for the last five games. They have given us everything. Sometimes we are playing terrific stuff.

"I thought every single player who wore a Kilmarnock jersey today was outstanding. I think you saw that with the reception the fans gave them at the end.

"With 11 men on the pitch we would have had a great chance of winning the game."

Westlake was sent packing by referee John Beaton for two fouls in three minutes, both of which earned a booking.

"I'm disappointed that I have a player who made two challenges in the game and he's sitting in the stand for virtually 50 minutes," said Locke.

"But the referee saw it as a red card and we've got to get on with it."

For Motherwell manager Ian Baraclough, there was frustration that his team had not made more of the one-man advantage.

"It slipped away from us a little bit," he said.

Motherwell's Marvin Johnson goes down in the penalty box and has his penalty claim turned down
Ian Baraclough felt the challenge by Craig Samson on Marvin Johnson was a "stonewall" penalty

"We stopped doing what got us into good positions in the first half. We started running with the ball too much, rather than passing the ball. That's the important thing when you have a man overload.

"We didn't really make them work hard enough to go and win the ball back, because eventually they would have tired and we'd have created more openings to get chances.

"I was pleased in the main. Again, we're going in the right direction. They had one shot in the first half and they scored from it but we picked ourselves up and got the equaliser.

"I'm just disappointed that we didn't capitalise."

Baraclough did have cause to be cheerful, though, as the point lifted them off the foot of the table.

"The boys have worked very hard and I feel for them that they have only won a point," he added.

"We're going in the right direction. Ross County might have won but we've gone above St Mirren now and if we keep putting in performances like that, we'll pick up points."

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