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Graham Alexander ‘always confident’ as Motherwell left it late against Morton

Salford City v Stevenage – Sky Bet League Two – Peninsula Stadium
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

Motherwell boss Graham Alexander insisted he had belief in his players after they came from behind to secure their place in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup.

The Premiership outfit needed extra-time goals from Kevin van Veen and, in the last minute, Liam Donnelly to get the better of a gutsy Morton side.

Alexander said: “It was a typical cup tie.

“I thought we played well and created a lot of chances. We dominated but we knew Morton were a well-coached, organised, and motivated team who were going to be hard to break down and they were exactly that.

“But I felt we just couldn’t find that final touch and their keeper (Jack Hamilton) made some excellent saves.”

Well fell behind to Robbie Muirhead’s curler, the last kick of the first extra period, but top scorer Van Veen equalised from a penalty after Michael Ledger fouled debutant Ross Tierney and Donnelly smashed home a brilliant late winner.

“It was about perseverance,” said Alexander. “When Morton got that goal, it put us in a difficult spot but credit to the players for battling back. It was a fantastic penalty from Kevin and a great finish from Liam.

“It was about how long we had left to come back and we didn’t have that long. We had 15 minutes and we hadn’t managed to get that goal in the previous 105 minutes so we knew time was against us.

“We asked the players not to panic in extra time half-time because we felt that we would have that extra bit of quality to at least get an equaliser and maybe a winner and we’ve done both.

“I am always confident in my players.”

Morton boss Dougie Imrie said: “I’m gutted, absolutely gutted. I thought for the 120 minutes we were the better team by miles.

“Yes, they had some spells in the game but I thought to a man we were miles ahead of them. I’m bitterly disappointed with the two decisions which have cost us the game but we move on.

“I’ll need to see (the penalty) back but at the time I thought it was soft. In your box you need to keep your hands down as the referees have got a job to do and Nick (Walsh) has seen it as a penalty.

“Motherwell are a good team and they’re not sitting in fourth in the Premiership table for nothing.”

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