’Well leave it late in league opener

Henri Anier makes it a league debut to remember as he runs clear to score past Ben Williams.
Henri Anier makes it a league debut to remember as he runs clear to score past Ben Williams.

Henri Anier grabbed his first goal as Motherwell started the Scottish Premiership season with a win at Easter Road on Sunday.

Last season ’Well and Hibs shared 14 goals between them in three games, but this was a far more cagey affair.

However, Estonian international Anier came off the bench with 21 minutes to go and that was all the time he needed to earn his new side the three points.

’Well made one change to the side which had lost Kuban Krasnodar in last week’s Europa League qualifier as Bob McHugh partnered John Sutton up front at the expense of Zaine-Francis-Angol.

It took all of 26 minutes for the first attempt on goal, but Keith Lasley’s left foot 25-yarder was easy for Ben Williams.

James McFadden then chipped into the box, but under pressure from Fraser Mullen, McHugh headed wide.

Just before the end of a grab first half Sutton headed down for Iain Vigurs, but he slashed his volley well wide, rather summing up the action.

Although not looking fully fit McFadden is Well’s most creative outlet and his cutback set up McHugh, however the striker’s scuff didn’t trouble Williams.

Hibs finally had a shot of target after 56 minutes, but Liam Craig’s low free kick was straight at Lee Hollis and then James Collins should have done better with a free header from Mullen’s cross.

The hosts were enjoying their best spell and Hollis got down smartly to save Kevin Thomson’s ambitious strike,.

Craig couldn’t get enough connection to slide Alex Harris’s low ball into the net and Hollis had to look lively to palm away Robertson’s fierce volley.

’Well rode the storm and it was time for Anier to make his entrance in place of McHugh.

Sutton had a great chance to win it as he ran onto Vigurs’s ball over the top, but his shot lacked power and Williams put it behind.

From the resultant Vigurs corner Williams was again called into action with a brillaint save to keep out Stephen McManus’s header.

Seven minutes from time the breakthrough came as Shaun Hutchinson’s defensive header beat the Hibs defence and ANIER ran clear to cooly slot the ball past Williams.

Hibernian: Williams, Hanlon, Nelson, Harris (Stanton 69), Robertson (Taiwo 78), Craig, Collins, Stevenson, Tudur Jones, Mullen, Thomson (Handling 85). Subs not used: Murdoch, McGivern, Maybury, Caldwell.

Motherwell: Hollis, Hammell, Ramsden, Hutchinson, McManus, McFadden (Francis-Angol 69), Lawson (Carswell 75), Sutton, Vigurs, Lasley, McHugh (Anier 69). Subs not used: Nielsen, Cummins, Kerr, Erwin.

Referee: Bobby Madden.

Attendance: 9.237.