Motherwell reached the last four of the William Hill Scottish Cup in thrilling fashion after a rip roaring 2-1 home win over Hearts quarter-final tie at a freezing Fir Park on Sunday, writes Craig Goldthorp.
A brilliant 25-yard volley by skipper Carl McHugh did it for the Steelmen with just three minutes of normal time remaining, sending Motherwell through to a last four tie against Aberdeen or Kilmarnock on the weekend of April 14 and 15.
The Steelmen could have been one up inside three minutes as Chris Cadden controversially had a ‘goal’ ruled out when he was deemed to have fouled keeper Jon McLaughlin when scoring after a Craig Tanner cross from the left.
Disallowing the strike seemed harsh as it seemed that McLaughlin had merely spilled the ball without any offence committed against him.
Referee Andrew Dallas then booked ’Well defender Tom Aldred for fouling Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty on the edge of the box.
But – thankfully for the hosts – Lafferty’s resultant free-kick hit the side netting.
’Well did break the deadlock on seven minutes in strange fashion when Tanner’s inswinging corner from the right was met at the near stick by keeper McLaughlin, who knocked the ball against his own post before it rolled along the line and Main bundled the ball in from about six inches.
Referee Dallas further infuriated the home support on 33 minutes when he didn’t book Kyle Lafferty for a foul on Richard Tait, the Northern Irish forward’s fourth offence.
Tanner then sent a half volley after the bar after a Nadir Ciftci shot had been blocked.
But the Edinburgh side – no doubt on the end of a half-time rollicking from manager Craig Levein – started strongly in the second half and were level within just six minutes when Lafferty slotted in a penalty awarded for Kipre’s foul on Naismith.
And the same player was unlucky not to get his name on the scoresheet again within two minutes when he sent a low right footed effort from an angle against Carson’s far post.
Lafferty was soon involved again with a fine headed effort which was brilliantly saved by Carson.
Cadden had a shot deflected wide after a Tanner pass, and Charles Dunne headed weakly at McLaughlin from a Kipre knockdown, but Motherwell went 2-1 up in spectacular fashion with just three minutes remaining when McHugh netted in memorable style.
Substitute Elliott Frear’s cross was cleared by defender Christophe Berra to McHugh, who volleyed in spectacularly from 25 yards. What a goal and Fir Park went wild!
Motherwell: Carson, Tait (Frear 78), Cadden, McHugh, Main, Dunne, Aldred, Kipré, Campbell, Çiftçi (Bowman 55), Tanner (Rose 90).