Motherwell boss Robbo defends Carl McHugh after backpass error

Carl McHugh celebrates after scoring a stunning winner against Hearts in last season's William Hill Scottish Cup
Carl McHugh celebrates after scoring a stunning winner against Hearts in last season's William Hill Scottish Cup

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson defended Carl McHugh after the centre back’s error which led to a disastrous series of consequences in Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat by Hearts.

McHugh was short with a 28th minute backpass to goalkeeper Trevor Carson, who sustained a suspected broken ankle in a 50/50 challenge with giant Hearts striker Uche Ikpeazu; the ball broke to Steven Naismith who slotted home the game’s only goal.

Stephen Robinson encourages his team against Hearts (Pic by Ian McFadyen)

Stephen Robinson encourages his team against Hearts (Pic by Ian McFadyen)

But Robbo said: “I thought Carl was excellent throughout the game.

“It’s the best I’ve seen anyone handle big Uche.

“He’s a handful. And I thought both sides defended really well and there wasn’t a whole lot in the game.

“And I think if they were truthful they’d be happy with a point coming here.

“We didn’t get anything, nothing we can do about it.

“We made an individual error to lead to anybody making a decision.

“So, first and foremost make sure we take the blame on that.

“I think we just lacked a wee bit in the final third to be honest.

“The players who win games for us, our Elliotts, our Cadds’s, our Bigis, our Dannys, just were maybe a wee percentage off today in terms of their final decision or their final pass.

“And that happens but I can’t ask for any more of the players.

“They’ve given me everything against a very, very good side.

“And we ran them all the way and should have come away with something.”

Robbo said it would be a “huge blow” if injured keeper Carson was out for a period, but insisted that replacement Mark Gillespie would provide excellent cover.

“We’ve got Mark,” Robbo said.

“We’ve made a conscious decision to make two number one goalkeepers come in.

“So Mark will get his chance and we will just have to see where Trevor is in terms of his injury.”

Meanwhile, Motherwell defender Tom Aldred said he felt ’Well were the dominant side against Hearts and the players were frustrated at taking nothing from the game.

He said McHugh was “brilliant” other than his backpass error, adding that the defence would just have to adapt to the loss through injury of keeper Carson and defender Charles Dunne, as well as the loss of centre back Cedric Kipre who was sold to Wigan Athletic this summer.

“We’ve had to have a bit of a shuffle,” Aldred said.

“I don’t think that was an issue against Hearts. I think we were comfortable.

“It’s frustrating.

“At the minute we’re probably not getting what we deserve.”