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Graham Alexander delighted to see Devante Cole firing on all cylinders

Celtic v Motherwell – Scottish Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Graham Alexander saw Devante Cole continue to thrive under his instructions as the forward’s double helped Motherwell to a 3-1 win over Livingston.

Cole took his tally to seven in 12 games since Alexander took charge in January, having netted just once in his previous 10 matches this season.

The 25-year-old scored a first-half penalty and swept home a loose ball before setting up Christopher Long to restore Motherwell’s two-goal cushion following a partially charged-down clearance.

On Cole’s form, Alexander said: “I don’t think there is a secret really. Look, he’s a good player.

“We always have a way of treating people and that’s across the board, and I think he’s responded well. I don’t know how he’s been treated in the past, it’s not that. I can’t really put my finger on it.

“We ask him to play in good areas and try to feed these lads because we know they are goalscorers. Chris Long scored a fantastic goal and Jordan (Roberts) scored last week and was such a threat.

“We try to keep round pegs in round holes and Cole’s an out-and-out striker.”

Motherwell moved 10 points clear of Scottish Premiership bottom club Kilmarnock after a third game unbeaten.

“We wanted to carry on with the performance and commitment level in the way we approached the game and we certainly did that from kick-off,” Alexander said.

“We started the game with a real good tempo, pinned Livi in for long periods and deservedly took the lead.

“Once we scored a third we were reasonably safe but that was only because of the way we approached the game.”

Livingston pulled a goal back through Jack Fitzwater and had some other chances but were always chasing the game after a slow start.

It was a third defeat inside a week for Livi, who are still waiting to secure their top-six spot, but manager David Martindale felt it was poor defending rather than fatigue that was to blame.

“You’re never going to win games of football defending the way we defended,” he said.

“The penalty, I don’t think he (Matej Poplatnik) needed to jump in. The second, we never cleared our lines properly after the ball hits the wall.

“The third goal, we kick it off their striker. It was keystone cops a wee bit.

“The defending has to be better as a squad because the last four or five games haven’t been good enough.

“This is the same group who went 14 games unbeaten with 10 clean sheets and it looks like we would really struggle to keep a clean sheet right now.

“We need to defend our box a lot better. It’s basics of football.”