Hibs v Motherwell: Team news, referee, key battles, likely line-ups

As Motherwell become the second team to visit Easter Road this season, we preview the fourth match of Hibs’ campaign
Scott Allan and Barry Maguire battle for possession in a meeting between the two teams at Easter Road last seasonScott Allan and Barry Maguire battle for possession in a meeting between the two teams at Easter Road last season
Scott Allan and Barry Maguire battle for possession in a meeting between the two teams at Easter Road last season

Hibs host Motherwell in their fourth match of the 2020/21 Scottish Premiership campaign.

Jack Ross’s side are seeking a fourth straight win after victories against Kilmarnock, Livingston, and Dundee United and host the Lanarkshire side in a 5.30pm kick-off at Easter Road.

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The Fir Park side have had a bumpy start to the season, losing to St Mirren and Dundee United before twice leading against Livingston only to be held to a 2-2 draw by Gary Holt’s team.

One bright point for the Steelmen is David Turnbull’s form. The precocious talent looks to be getting over the injury that kept him sidelined for more than six months, and he netted the opener in ‘Well’s last game.

Team news

Jack Ross has virtually a full squad to choose from. Winger Drey Wright is still sidelined with a thigh strain and midfielder Stevie Mallan is still a little bit away from first-team action but has returned to training. Defender Sean Mackie is also still working his way back to full fitness. Joe Newell was replaced by Melker Hallberg at Tannadice after picking up an injury but the former Rotherham United man has recovered and will be involved in the matchday squad.

Motherwell will be without long-term absentee Liam Donnelly, while Jake Carroll and Charles Dunne both remain sidelined. Recent signing Stephen O’Donnell could make his debut for Stephen Robinson’s side after joining on a short-term deal this week.

Likely line-ups

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Jack Ross could revert to the 3-5-2 that served him so well in the first half of the opening-day fixture against Kilmarnock, which would mean a return for Scott Allan and Martin Boyle operating as a right wingback to accommodate Christian Doidge up front.

Hibs: Marciano; McGinn, Porteous, Hanlon; Boyle, Newell, Allan, Gogic, Doig; Nisbet, Doidge. Subs from: Dabrowski, Gray, McGregor, James, Stevenson, Hallberg, Stirling, F Murray, Gullan, Horgan.

Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson sent his side out in a 4-1-2-2-1 / 4-3-3 set-up at home to Dundee United and Livingston, but played a more defensive 4-2-3-1 away at Ross County. He has a bit of a dilemma at left-back having been forced to play centre-backs in the position so far this season. Right-backs Liam Grimshaw and O’Donnell have both played left-back on occasion but Robinson may stick with Lamie.

Motherwell: Carson; Grimshaw, Mugabi, Gallagher, Lamie; Campbell, O’Hara; Seedorf, Turnbull, Long; White. Subs from: Fox, Johnston, Maguire, Hussain, Polworth, Hastie, Hylton, Robinson, Watt, Cornelius.

Key battles

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Declan Gallagher will be tasked with keeping Christian Doidge quiet. The Welshman has two goals from his last two matches, including the winner away to Dundee United. He is forming a good partnership with Kevin Nisbet but as the focal point of the attack, Motherwell will likely view him as the man to stop.

David Turnbull is starting to put in the performances again that nearly earned him a move to Celtic. He scored last time out and will be tasked with making things happening in the middle of the park for the visitors. Alex Gogic, who has been quietly impressive since joining Hibs, will no doubt have the 21-year-old in his sights. The Cypriot has filled the gap left by the departure of Marvin Bartley in the summer of 2019 and so far, Hibs look a lot stronger at the back with him patrolling in front of the rearguard.

Scott Allan could be restored to the starting line-up after sitting out the Livingston victory and making a brief substitute appearance against Dundee United. The playmaker sparked Hibs into life at Tannadice and Jack Ross will be hopeful that the mercurial midfielder can pull the strings in the middle of the park. Allan Campbell, who netted in ‘Well’s last match, will have to keep a tight rein on Allan assuming he starts in that number six role.

Form guide

Hibs: WWW

Motherwell: LLD


Greg Aitken has been appointed to handle this fixture. The 43-year-old last took charge of a match involving Hibs more than 12 months ago when he oversaw a 1-1 draw and subsequent 5-4 penalty shoot-out win for the Easter Road side in a Betfred Cup group match against Stirling Albion at Forthbank. He has refereed ten matches involving Hibs in his career with the Capital club winning five and drawing five. He dished out a total of just 13 bookings and awarded four penalties in those ten matches. Aitken has overseen seven matches involving Motherwell; most recently a 2-1 in away win at Ross County in December last year. He is assisted by Kylie McMullan and John McCrossan. The fourth official is Nick Walsh.

Magic number - 2013

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The last time Motherwell recorded a victory at Easter Road was in August 2013. Future Hibs loanee Henri Anier climbed off the bench to net the only goal of the game on 82 minutes giving Stuart McCall’s side the three points.

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