Newly departed Craig Clay's one goal for Motherwell was a vital one!

A bandaged Craig Clay celebrates with Lionel Ainsworth after Motherwell's vital 1-0 victory at Hamilton Accies towards the end of last season which helped keep the Steelmen up (Pic by Alan Watson)
A bandaged Craig Clay celebrates with Lionel Ainsworth after Motherwell's vital 1-0 victory at Hamilton Accies towards the end of last season which helped keep the Steelmen up (Pic by Alan Watson)

The summer influx of new midfielders arriving at Motherwell today led to the departure of Craig Clay for English National League outfit Leyton Orient.

The former Grimsby Town ace (25) scored one goal in 39 appearances for Motherwell last season, although the strike turned out to be a hugely important one.

Clay's deflected long range effort came in a vital 2-1 Scottish Premiership success at Inverness Caley on December 28 last year. And the wind assisted goal's significance can't be overstated.

For although Motherwell ended up in ninth spot, they would have ultimately been relegated had they lost that Caley match as defeat in the Highlands on that freezing winter night would have seen them finish two points behind Inverness (who did go down after ending bottom) and also below 11th placed Hamilton Accies on goal difference.

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson explained the club's decision to let Clay go to Motherwell FC's website.

Robbo said: "Craig is a good lad, was popular around the club and gave everything whilst he was here.

“However, I have a lot of competition for places in that area of the park, particularly around our young talent, and I wanted to open up that pathway. In turn, we will look to reinvest some of the budget into other areas of the team.”

Clay, whose 'Well career ends after the recent arrivals of midfielders Gaël Bigirimana and Andy Rose at Fir Park, added: “I really enjoyed my time up in Scotland and I want to thank all the people around the club for making me feel so welcome.

“Motherwell is a great club and I want to wish everyone there all the best of luck. I am now looking forward to my new challenge down in London, but I’ll also keep a close eye on things back at Fir Park.”