Kilmarnock 4-1 Motherwell: Manager Graham Alexander's reaction to heavy defeat in Ayrshire
Motherwell went down to a heavy 4-1 defeat against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday.
The result gave Killie their first win in 11 games and lifted them off the bottom of the Scottish Premiership table while Motherwell are ninth and not yet mathematically safe from relegation.
Motherwell got off to a nightmare start when Kilmarnock scored in the first minute via a long range Kyle Lafferty shot.
But the visitors were level within seven minutes. The equaliser came when Allan Campbell's brilliant cross to the back post was met by Jordan Roberts' powerful header. Keeper Colin Doyle parried the ball out to Barry Maguire who shot home.
There was then a penalty shout denied for Motherwell when skipper Stephen O’Donnell went down under Killie defender Brandon Haunstrup’s challenge but referee Alan Muir wasn’t interested.
A brilliant Motherwell free-kick routine which started with Jake Carroll scooping the ball forward culminated in Roberts’ cross from the left being turned towards goal by Devante Cole whose effort was saved.
A 29th minute Killie corner was cleared to Lafferty who blasted well over with his right foot.
Roberts’ cross at the other end on 35 minutes was met by Tyler Magloire’s header but Doyle turned the ball over the crossbar.
It was 2-1 Kilmarnock early in the second half. Lafferty’s initial shot was only half blocked and Rory McKenzie nipped in in front of Magloire and Kelly to score.
And the hosts soon went 3-1 ahead when a cross from the left found Chris Burke in space and he slammed the ball home.
Motherwell’s day got worse on 81 minutes when Magloire misjudged a ball forward and Mitch Pinnock capitalised on the mistake to slot past Kelly.
Roberts crossed from the left for sub Chris Long three minutes from the end but his attempt was blocked to complete a miserable day for the Steelmen.
Motherwell manager Graham Alexander said post match: “It’s not a great start from us. The goal we’ve conceded is a poor goal, not just the shot but the actual build-up to it was too easy.
"There was no aggression or commitment from us and we went 1-0 down really early.
"We got ourselves back into it with a good response. But we still weren’t good enough.
"We were 1-1 at half-time but we hadn’t played well enough, we hadn’t done the things that we’d done in the past three games to get results.
"There are three or four ingredients you have to put in to win a game of football and if you don’t get them you get a result and performance like that.
"We are in a fight from now until the end of the season. We have to win as many points as possible.
"You can’t go to Hibs two or three weeks ago, completely dominate and win a game, and then come to the team at the bottom of the table and get a result like that.
"It happened to us a month ago against Hamilton. We have been beat 4-1 twice now by the team at the bottom of the table which tells myself and everyone around that there’s a problem.”
Alexander also explained why ’Well players didn’t take a knee before the game.
’Well had tweeted before the game: “Enough is enough. Our players will no longer take the knee.
“Instead, we are taking a stand against racism and the lack of action being taken to fight it.
"Taking a knee has become an empty gesture. Instead, we want those in power to take real and immediate action on racism.”
The gaffer said: “It was a players’ decision that they were concerned about and it was actually something that was being spoken about at the start of the week.
"When I spoke to the players yesterday they didn’t want to do it and I just thought out of unity we should all do the same thing to have the same message. There’s a lot of issues around it.
"The players felt this was the best way for them and us to acknowledge the issues and the reaction to it.”
When asked if the Steelmen should have had a first half penalty at Killie for Haunstrup’s challenge on O’Donnell – which the Motherwell Times thought was a spot kick - Alexander said: “I can’t go there any more, I can’t.”
Kilmarnock: Doyle, McGowan, Medley, Broadfoot, Haunstrup, Power, Dicker, McKenzie, Burke (Mulumbu 81), Pinnock (Pierrick 85), Lafferty (Whitehall 85).
Motherwell: Kelly, O’Donnell, Lamie, Magloire, Carroll, Maguire (Lawless 62), Campbell, Crawford, Watt, Cole (Long 75), Roberts.
Referee: Alan Muir