Higdon hat-trick puts ’Well top of the table

Michael Higdon claims the match ball.
Michael Higdon claims the match ball.
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A HAT-tRICK from birthday boy Michael Higdon gave Motherwell their first home win of the season and propelled them to the top of the SPL going into the international break.

’Well manager Stuart McCall made five changes from the side who lost to Levante as Jamie Murphy and Henrik Ojamaa were left on the bench alongside Steven Hetherington and Stuart Carswell while Stevie Hammell was injured.

Returning to side were Tom Hateley, in a now unfamiliar midfield role, and Nicky Law as Chris Humphrey, Bob McHugh and Zaine Francis-Angol also were given starting places.

HATELEY grabbed the opening goal on 11 minutes as his inswinging corner from the left went straight in.

Just a minute later it was 2-0, dazzling play down the right by Humphrey got him to the byeline and he teed up HIGDON to slot in at the near post.

A fine save by Ryan Esson denied Hately from finding the top corner and Inverness took advantage of the lifeline to make it 2-1 on 27 minutes.

A Law defensive header only found its way as far as Owain Tudur-Jones who lobbed the ball back into the box and Richie Foran seanked round the back of Hateley to nod in.

A minute from the break Foran should have equalised as a long ball by Josh Meekings sent him clear but the Invenress captain could only fire against Darren Randolph’s legs.

It seemed obvious there would be more goals in this one but Higdon could only volley into the side netting while Fraser Kerr being tripped in the box by Meekings went unpunished.

The home side had another appeal for a penalty turned away as they claimed substitute Murphy’s shot was blocked illegally by Gary Warren.

However, on 72 minutes the third goal did come as David Raven hit a criminally short back pass which was seized upon by HIGDON.

Warren and Randolph both showed incredible agility as the goalkeeper proved a match for the defender’s spectacular overhead kick.

On 79 minutes HIGDON completed his hat-trick as Ojamaa’s quick footwork teed up his strike partner who fired into the top corner.

Nine minutes from time Jonathan Page tripped Foran in the box and was shown the games’s only yellow card.

Andrew Shinnie stepped up to the spot, but Randolph dived to his right to push the penalty away and a grateful Page completed the clearance.

Motherwell: Randolph, Law (Murphy 64), Hateley, Humphrey (Carswell 85), Higdon, Lasley, McHugh (Ojamaa 73), Kerr, Page, Francis-Angol, Cummins. Subs not used: Hollis, Daley, Hetherington, Murray.

Inverness CT: Esson, Raven G Shinnie, Tudur-Jones (Morrison 64), Warren, Draper, Foran, A Shinnie (Pepper 82), Meekings, Doran, Sutherland (McKay 80). Subs not used: Reguero, Laing, Polworth.

Referee: Stevie O’Reilly.

Attendance: 4,031.