Scottish Premiership

Motherwell 2-1 Kilmarnock: Hosts defeat 10-man visitors to go third

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Highlights: Motherwell 2-1 Kilmarnock

Motherwell reclaimed third place in the Scottish Premiership from 10-man Kilmarnock after defeating Angelo Alessio's side 2-1 at Fir Park.

The visitors' Alex Bruce was shown red for slicing down Chris Long, and Liam Donnelly scored from the free-kick.

Dom Thomas equalised for the visitors but Stephen Robinson's side turned the screw in the second-half.

Devante Cole's winner in the 54th minute sealed Kilmarnock's fate, who now sit fifth behind Aberdeen.

Kilmarnock contained Motherwell for large spells, but the Lanarkshire side have the best goalscoring record in the league outside Rangers and Celtic and made the most of their numerical advantage to bounce back from consecutive defeats.

Makeshift defence made to pay

Defence has defined Kilmarnock this season. Since the shambolic Europa League defeat by Connah's Quay Nomads, the Ayrshire club have rediscovered the miserly streak that had formed the backbone of their success under Steve Clarke.

Under Angelo Alessio, they arrived at Fir Park third in the table with a record of six clean sheets in 10 matches - offsetting the fact only St Mirren had scored fewer goals in the top flight so far this season.

So it was a nightmare start as Bruce was shown a straight red, adjudged to have denied Long a clear goalscoring opportunity by swiping the striker down at the edge of the box. Referee Don Robertson only gets one view, but video footage appeared to show Bruce made contact with the ball before the player. Kilmarnock will appeal against the decision.

From the resultant free kick, Donnelly's low, drilled effort took a deflection and Laurentiu Branescu in the Kilmarnock goal rather fumbled the ball into his own net. But huge credit to Donnelly, the 23-year-old midfielder netting his ninth goal of the season in just 13 appearances.

Suddenly the impressive Kilmarnock central defence was decidedly makeshift - 21 year old Connor Johnson, on loan from Wolves and making his first appearance now alongside captain Gary Dicker, who dropped back from his usual midfield berth.

Motherwell were looking to reclaim third spot in the table and dominated play with the extra man, but Kilmarnock would hit back through a former Fir Park favourite.

Dom Thomas fired a low ball into the box from the right which eluded everyone - including goalkeeper Mark Gillespie - before nestling in the bottom corner. Thomas looked like he could not believe his luck.

Motherwell virtually laid siege to the Kilmarnock defence in the early part of the second half, and they would get their reward when Jake Carroll crossed for Devante Cole to head home.

The hosts continued to have the majority of the play around the Kilmarnock box but the away fans made noisy claims for a penalty, Dicker possibly fouled in the box at a corner but the referee waved play on.

Motherwell continued to press. Substitute James Scott headed over the bar then Long put the ball on a plate for Allan Campbell six yards out, but the midfielder blazed wastefully over the bar.

They were almost made to pay as Eamonn Brophy's fierce shot whistled wide and Mohamed El Makrini headed narrowly past from a corner.

It was the final act in a pulsating match which sees Motherwell move up to third.

Motherwell stat

Man of the match - Jake Carroll

Jake Carroll suffered an ankle knock against Rangers but passed a fitness test and made his mark. He was always an option down the wing as an attacking threat, his dead-ball delivery was also a threat.

He provided the assist for Cole from open play and plays with plenty of personality.

'We can still improve' - reaction

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson: "We had a tough game on Sunday [a 2-1 defeat by Rangers] which took a lot out of the boys. I thought Christopher Long was outstanding, as was Devante Cole.

"The good thing is I still believe we can improve - I'll probably never be happy, to be honest."

Kilmarnock manager Angelo Alessio: "I think it was no free kick and then no sending off. Bruce takes the ball. But the referee gave the free kick and sent him off. I think this is the main point in the game.

"I think the players played well and we do our best to come back into the game and at the end of the game two or three chances to score."



  • 20Gillespie
  • 4GrimshawBooked at 56mins
  • 31Gallagher
  • 5Hartley
  • 3Carroll
  • 22Donnelly
  • 6Campbell
  • 19Polworth
  • 14HyltonSubstituted forSeedorfat 73'minutes
  • 9Long
  • 44ColeSubstituted forScottat 77'minutes


  • 1Carson
  • 2Tait
  • 11Seedorf
  • 15Maguire
  • 16Ilic
  • 17Scott
  • 24Mugabi


  • 12Branescu
  • 2O'Donnell
  • 5JohnsonBooked at 85mins
  • 4BruceBooked at 14mins
  • 14Hämäläinen
  • 8DickerBooked at 49mins
  • 6Power
  • 7McKenzieSubstituted forBurkeat 84'minutes
  • 15El Makrini
  • 23ThomasSubstituted forMillarat 70'minutes
  • 16JacksonSubstituted forBrophyat 66'minutes


  • 9Brophy
  • 11Millar
  • 20Wilson
  • 24Koprivec
  • 25St. Clair
  • 26Del Fabro
  • 29Burke
Don Robertson

Match Stats

Home TeamMotherwellAway TeamKilmarnock
Shots on Target

Live Text

Match ends, Motherwell 2, Kilmarnock 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Motherwell 2, Kilmarnock 1.

Attempt missed. Eamonn Brophy (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box misses to the left following a corner.

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Allan Campbell.

Attempt blocked. Liam Millar (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt saved. James Scott (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Mark Gillespie.

Attempt saved. Eamonn Brophy (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Jake Carroll.

Foul by James Scott (Motherwell).

Connor Johnson (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Connor Johnson.

Attempt blocked. Allan Campbell (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Liam Polworth (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Alan Power (Kilmarnock).


Connor Johnson (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Chris Long (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Connor Johnson (Kilmarnock).

Foul by Chris Long (Motherwell).

Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.


Substitution, Kilmarnock. Chris Burke replaces Rory McKenzie.

Attempt missed. James Scott (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high following a corner.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Laurentiu Branescu.

Foul by Allan Campbell (Motherwell).

Alan Power (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.


Substitution, Motherwell. James Scott replaces Devante Cole.

Attempt missed. Devante Cole (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Declan Gallagher.


Substitution, Motherwell. Sherwin Seedorf replaces Jermaine Hylton.

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Peter Hartley.

Foul by Jermaine Hylton (Motherwell).

Niko Hämäläinen (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Gary Dicker.


Substitution, Kilmarnock. Liam Millar replaces Dom Thomas.

Attempt saved. Dom Thomas (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.


Substitution, Kilmarnock. Eamonn Brophy replaces Simeon Jackson.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Gary Dicker.

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Liam Grimshaw.

Foul by Allan Campbell (Motherwell).

Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.


As It Stood

7Ross County113441223-1113
8St Johnstone112451124-1310
12St Mirren11227511-68
View full Scottish Premiership table

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