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Stephen Robinson settles on starting XI with Motherwell still seeking first win

Stephen Robinson File Photo
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson appears to have discovered his starting XI for the weeks ahead after his team found their form in a goalless draw with Hibernian at Easter Road.

After taking one point from their opening three games, Motherwell looked more like the team who finished third in the Scottish Premiership last season.

Jordan White had a goal disallowed and Ofir Marciano produced an excellent stop from Callum Lang, who made a lively first start for Motherwell despite a lack of match sharpness.

With Sherwin Seedorf again impressing in spells, Robinson is set to continue with that front three, which is bad news for Tony Watt, Jermaine Hylton, Jake Hastie and Christopher Long, the latter involved in an animated and lengthy discussion with Robinson after the game.

Watt, Hylton and Long came off the bench but could not provide the inspiration Robinson was looking for.

Robinson said: “I didn’t get it, did I? I don’t think the subs made the impact I wanted them to. They had opportunities to. Longy nearly sets a goal up and Tony has a chance where he doesn’t quite connect. Jermaine has a one-on-one.

“They had opportunities, it’s difficult to come on. The front three did very well, it was just tiredness. Jordan put a lot into the game, got knocked about and gave us a physical presence, Callum Lang, it was his first start March and he was starting to tire. I would have left them on if I could.”

Stephen O’Donnell also made an impressive first start before unsurprisingly succumbing to cramp after the Scotland international dislodged Liam Grimshaw at right-back.

Robinson was a far happier man than he was after Motherwell’s midweek draw with Livingston.

“I couldn’t have been any worse,” Robinson laughed. “Sometimes young players believe what happened last year will just happen without that extra percentage and we just reminded them of that.

“Jordan White and Callum Lang were very good, Langy will get better and better. Stephen O’Donnell is a class act, and Rickie Lamie and Declan (Gallagher) were excellent. To deal with Martin Boyle like we did, he’s one of the best players in the league and we didn’t give him a sniff.

“It was a very good performance from the midfield three, they dominated against very good players. We deserved to win and now we need to follow that up with three points on Saturday.”

After David Turnbull impressed, Robinson said: “He’s a talented boy, you can see that he’s getting better with every game now. Wee Al (Campbell), him and Mark O’Hara were fantastic again.

“We have the right combination in midfield now and we are starting to get that in the forward areas as well.

“The back four looked solid. Declan Gallagher, it’s the best he has played all season. We’ve got players back to playing how they were and they maybe just need a reminder of how to do that.”

Hibernian head coach Jack Ross will maintain his pursuit of Rangers midfielder Ross McCrorie but he is generally satisfied with his squad with his defence and goalkeeper coming in for particular praise following the game.

“We are actively trying to do that (McCrorie deal), I don’t know if that has progressed any further,” he said.

“Then other things beyond that would probably rely on movement the other way but I think that would happen as well if we manage to get ones in.

“We are OK, I can’t not be satisfied with what we have at the moment because the evidence is there with taking 10 points from 12.”