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Steven Hammell rues painful loss as injuries and missed chances hurt Motherwell

Motherwell v Rangers – Scottish Premiership – Fir Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Motherwell manager Steven Hammell bemoaned his luck after watching his side hit the post three times, have a goal disallowed and suffer three concerning injuries in a 3-0 home defeat by Hearts.

Blair Spittall, Matt Penney and Paul McGinn all hit the frame of the goal, the latter from about three yards, and substitute Louis Moult was denied by the offside flag as Well fell to a clinical Hearts side in the cinch Premiership.

Hammell said: “It hurts, 3-0 at home hurts. I don’t think that’s a reflection of the game. We just need to be more clinical and that’s been the story of the last three or four games.

“We created more chances than we have all season. We looked at the numbers and we had almost 30 shots on goal, hit the woodwork three times.

“Every player had a chance. Not just the strikers, every player in our team had a chance to score and we are going away with zero so it’s no secret what we need to work on.”

Moult appeared to deny Kevin van Veen a goal when he touched home the Dutch striker’s shot from close range only to be flagged.

“It just didn’t seem to be our day,” Hammell said. “We came up against an inspired goalkeeping performance from Craig (Gordon), which he does so often it’s no surprise.”

Joe Efford and his replacement Rolando Aarons both went off with hamstring injuries in the first half and Ricki Lamie was taken off midway through the second half after struggling on with a knock.

Hammell said: “We didn’t have our problems to seek, the three stoppages we’re allowed we had to use them for injuries and we had to be careful about who we put on.

“The injuries don’t look good. It won’t be a couple of days, it’s a couple of hamstrings and a knee injury.

“Callum Slattery’s had a bit of bad news in his family so it was personal reasons that we left him out. He’s been magnificent for us this season and he was a massive loss to us but some things are more important.”

Lawrence Shankland struck the opener for Hearts after Lamie misjudged a high ball and then set up his former Ayr team-mate Alan Forrest five minutes into the second half.

Both players had scored in Thursday’s Europa Conference League win over RFS in Latvia and Forrest rounded off a successful week with a stoppage-time goal.

Manager Robbie Neilson said: “Three goals made at Ayr United. It was good to see the rapport between Shanks and Alan, they’ve come in and really taken the group, the players really like them and they do great for us.

“I like their pathway of coming up from the Championship and doing well in the Premiership, then coming to us. It shows that’s a great pathway for players in Scotland.”

Neilson allayed fears over a knock which saw Scotland goalkeeper Gordon need treatment and was not too concerned over injuries which forced off Alex Cochrane and Stephen Kingsley, while Cammy Devlin was fine after going off immediately after going down.

“All the injuries were contact injuries,” he said. “None of them were muscular.

“Craig will be fine for international duty. I think it would take a lot for Craig to miss that. It was just a contact thing when he landed, hurt his knee a wee bit.

“Stephen got a wee kick on his knee, Cochrane took a knock on the hip.

“Cammy (Devlin) just likes a clap when he comes off. He’s bouncing about in there.”

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