Motherwell began their 2019-2020 Scottish Premiership campaign with a 0-0 draw against Livingston in a bruising encounter at the Tony Macaroni Arena in Saturday's Scottish Premiership opener, writes Craig Goldthorp.
Motherwell fans were cheering pre match at the sight of last season's top scorer David Turnbull, albeit on crutches. Turnbull - whose proposed £3.25 million move to Celtic this summer was postponed due to injury, greeted members of the healthy 1479 travelling Well support and received extremely warm applause.
But when the action got underway scoring chances were virtually non existent early on.
A fiercely fought opening to the match, with long balls and hard endeavour rife, saw no attempts on goal in the opening 30 minutes.
The first shot arrived for the hosts on 31 minutes when Keaghan Jacobs shot not too far wide after good build-up on the left from Steven Lawless.
Three minutes later it was the Steelmen with a goal effort as Christian Ilic's left footer from outside the box was straight at keeper Ross Stewart.
It wasn't long before another opportunity arrived when Motherwell left back Jake Carroll was put through on the keeper by Jermaine Hylton but Carroll's powerful shot was blocked by Stewart.
The chances were flowing now and Livingston's Aymen Souda produced a brilliant overhead kick that was well saved by visiting keeper Mark Gillespie.
After Souda sent over the resultant corner from the right, home captain Alan Lithgow sent in a header which was blocked at the left post.
The hosts were in the ascendancy now and Scott Pittman was put through on goal before having his goal attempt blocked by the outrushing Gillespie. The rebound - with Gillespie well out of goal - saw Pittman try a lob towards goal which was blocked on the line.
Livi created a good chance on 51 minutes when a Lawless through pass put Souda through on Gillespie but the striker shot into the side netting.
Hylton produced a fine run towards goal on 56 minutes but his final effort was blocked. After the subsequent corner had been cleared, Carroll's cross from the right found Liam Polworth who shot well over.
The half-time arrival of Sherwin Seedorf for Ilic provided some much needed craft for Motherwell.
Motherwell had a great chance to break the deadlock on 66 minutes when Tait was put clean through by an Allan Campbell pass but shot weakly at Stewart.
Gillespie produced a wonderful block to deny Nicky Devlin who was put clean through on 82 minutes after a Lawless pass.
The Steelmen went close again within a minute when a fantastic Polworth cross was met by a looping Gallagher header which was tipped over.
Motherwell then twice nearly broke the deadlock from separate corners, Polworth touching the ball wide after a centre by substitute Devante Cole before Gallagher met another Carroll flag kick powerfully with his head but the ball went wide.
As the game entered injury time, Gallagher nodded well wide from yet another Carroll corner.
Motherwell: Gillespie, Tait, Gallagher, Dunne, Carroll, Donnelly, Campbell, Polworth, Hylton (Cole 80), Scott (Long 51), Ilic (Seedorf 45).
Referee: David Munro