Hibee History: Captain’s goal lifts Hibs to fourth

Ian Murray (centre) receives a kiss from Sam Morrow after scoring winner for Hibs
Ian Murray (centre) receives a kiss from Sam Morrow after scoring winner for Hibs
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Hibs skipper Ian Murray grabbed his first goal of the season to lift his team to fourth in the SPL table.

Both teams were guilty of squandering possession in a tedious first half and goalscoring opportunities were scarce.

Hibs defender Gary Caldwell made two crucial blocks to prevent Motherwell efforts, including an incredible goal-line clearance.

Motherwell could have been a goal ahead within the first minute when Steven Hammell found himself with the ball at his feet just outside the six-yard box, but the full-back’s effort lacked power and Hibs goalkeeper Simon Brown was able to tip over the crossbar.

Hibs striker Steven Fletcher then saw his close-range shot easily gathered by visiting keeper Gordon Marshall.

Both sides were getting bogged down in midfield with lots of passes going astray and forwards seeing little of the ball.

Motherwell could have taken the lead five minutes before the break when Paul Quinn set up Jim Paterson for the shot.

He unleashed a long, low drive which forced Gary Caldwell into a last-ditch clearance at the near post which almost ended up in the Hibs net instead.

Only a superb save by Marshall prevented Hibs from taking the lead a few minutes later when he managed to block a thunderous long-range shot by Stephen Glass.

Early in the second half a slip by Hibs defender Colin Murdock gave Alex Burns a glimpse of goal, but the striker’s curled effort sailed wide of the target.

Motherwell were looking sharper in attack and Jim Paterson, shot was blocked on the line by one of his own players when his effort cannoned off the body of David Clarkson.

That proved to be Paterson’s last involvement in the game. He suffered an injury earlier in the game after clashing with Murray and he eventually had to make way for Marc Fitzpatrick.

And the young substitute was immediately guilty of a terrible miss.

Hammell burst down the right wing before firing into the path of Fitzpatrick, who scuffed his shot into the ground from four yards out.

The mis-hit allowed Caldwell to produce an astonishing clearance on the line to send the ball over the crossbar.

Hibs then cheered their frustrated fans when Glass provided a cross which found Murray unmarked just outside the six-yard box and the Hibs captain sent a glancing header into the net.

Motherwell tried desperately to push forward to salvage an equaliser and managed a few runs into the box, but they struggled to break down a resolute Hibs defence.

Hibs: Brown, Whittaker, Caldwell, Murdock, Glass, Shiels, Beuzelin, Rocastle, Murray, Fletcher, Riordan.