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Robinson hails defensive duo for coping with Livingston threat

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson hailed the central defensive partnership of Peter Hartley and Declan Gallagher for coping with Livingston’s aerial bombardment.

The Fir Park outfit secured a 2-1 win over Livingston following Allan Campbell’s 83rd-minute winner to keep Motherwell in third place in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

And Robinson was quick to praise the pair at the heart of their defence – captain Hartley and Gallagher – for dealing with Livingston’s direct approach.

The Well boss is a major admirer of Livingston’s playing style and knows how effective it can be if your defenders are not at the top of their game.

But Hartley and Gallagher were up for the challenge and Livingston’s goal came from the penalty spot as Steven Lawless scored from 12 yards to cancel out Christopher Long’s opener.

Motherwell, however, were not to be denied the three points as midfielder Campbell struck late on to secure their second league win on the bounce.

Robinson said: “After we lost to Aberdeen I set a target of seven points. We didn’t quite get the point we deserved at Rangers, but to come here against a team like Livingston who sit in and throw balls into your box – you have to defend that.

“That’s a compliment to Livingston and not a criticism.

“I thought Peter Hartley and Declan Gallagher were outstanding.

“And we showed a wee bit of quality to win the game. I thought we thoroughly deserved to win the game because we dominated large amounts of it.”

Robinson was delighted his side did not allow the penalty decision, when Devante Cole was penalised for a barge in the back of Scott Tiffoney, affect them as they pushed for the winner.

He said: “I haven’t seen the penalty back; Devante is adamant it wasn’t a penalty and the ref said it was. We didn’t let it affect us. Things go for you sometime but they went against us today. But we showed the character needed to respond to it.”

Livingston manager Gary Holt knows his side need to be more clinical.

Holt’s side have been hit by injury but the team he put out held their own at Fir Park and will feel they should have departed with at least a point.

But Holt knows they need to take their chances to capitalise on their good play.

Holt said: “We can’t keep praising a defeat. To a man there was effort and desire and I can’t fault them.

“I would rather tell them we were garbage and rubbish but won the game.

“We need to learn that quickly, it’s about fine lines and we should have scored with a chance at the end.

“It’s about taking opportunities when they come as unlucky doesn’t keep you in this league and doesn’t get you anything. Being ultra-professional does.

“We are still new at this level and we need to do the nitty gritty and there will be games where we play and get nothing.”