Andy Ross at The Global Energy Stadium
Motherwell opened their Clydesdale Bank Premier League campaign with a 0-0 stalemate against Ross County at the Global Energy Stadium.
Chances were at a premium throughout what was a closely-fought affair.
Stuart McCall made one change to the side that fell to a 2-0 defeat to Panathinaikos on Tuesday evening, Omar Daley replacing Henrik Ojamaa.
County were presented with the Division One championship flag prior to kick-off and the Motherwell players applauded their opponents on to the park for their first ever SPL encounter.
Motherwell enjoyed the bulk of the opening possession without creating a clear-cut chance.
They did however create the first chance of the match – Michael Higdon failing to trouble Michael Fraser from distance.
The hosts created their first real chance of the match on 33 minutes when Darren Randolph did well to tip the ball over the bar after Grant Munro had risen to meet Richard Brittain’s free-kick.
It was the Steelmen who continued to look the more likely of the two sides though and they finished the opening 45 minutes with three half chances.
Higdon headed over from Tom Hateley’s corner, Simon Ramsden sent a 25-yard effort wide of the target and on the stroke of half-time Higdon diverted Hateley’s goal-bound cross over the crossbar.
The noisy ‘Well support were hoping for more to cheer about during the second half, however it was to follow a similar pattern to the opening half.
Steven Hammell fired well over the top of Fraser’s goal before Chris Humphrey saw his low cross gathered well by the County keeper.
Derek Adams’ men responded with chances with Richard Brittain and Paul Lawson both heading over the top.
Stuart McCall looked to introduce some attacking spark to his side as he replaced Humphrey with Henrik Ojamaa.
The Estonian international played his part in setting up Daley to fizz a low effort which troubled Fraser.
With six minutes remaining Robert McHugh replaced Daley, as Motherwell looked to claim all three points.
They did end with a flurry of corners but the home defence comfortably held out, ensuring they marked their SPL debut with a point.
The Steelmen now can focus on trying to overturn a two goal deficit in Athens on Wednesday evening, but may have to do so without the services of winger Chris Humphrey, who sustained a hamstring injury during today’s clash.
[tab:As it happened]
Alan Burrows at The Global Energy Stadium
FT: Ross County 0-0 Well
90mins – Few corners come to nothing for ‘Well. Brittain flashes a shot just wide at the other end. Still 0-0!
84mins – Omar Daley comes off replaced by Bob McHugh!
78mins – Sam Morrow comes on for County – replacing Martin Scott.
76mins – Left foot shot from Daley has Fraser scrambling but he gets down well low to his left to make the save.
70mins – Ojamaa on for Humphrey now too!
70mins – County sub. Corcoran on for Russell Duncan!
63mins – Attendance today is 4828! Sorry for the lack of updates… Nothing much is really happening to be honest.
60mins – Decent ball across the face from Humphrey but its well held by Fraser low at his near post.
52mins – Long-range effort from Stevie Hammell goes flying over the bar. No real threat to the County goal…
45mins – Teams are back out on the park – no changes I think – the home side to get us underway…
HT: Ross County 0 – 0 Motherwell
45mins – Hateley’s corner looks to be flying into the net but it hits the unlucky Higdon and bounces over the bar…
43mins – Ramsden flashes a long-range shot not too far wide of Fraser’s post. Good to see him getting up the park,
41mins – A Hateley corner finds Higdon in the area but his header gives Mikey Fraser no bother at all!
40mins – Still waiting for a breakthrough here… It’s not been great to be honest. Neither side really getting a firm grip on things.
34mins – Richie Britton free-kick is headed towards goal by Munro. Randolph makes a good save to tip over. Bit of climbing I thought…
33mins – Some of the chants to Bob McHugh from the ‘Well fans, whilst crude, are brilliant.
27mins – Shot from Lawson that blazes just wide of the post… It’s been a low-key opening to the match!
24mins – Henrik Ojamaa goes out to warm up and the ‘Well fans give him a great reception.
18mins – Nothing too much going on up here at the moment. Both teams a little slack in possession…
15mins – Higdon flashes a low shot at Mikey Fraser but the former ‘Well stopper was more than equal to it.
8mins – Great run by Murphy but it breaks down just at the last part and the ball goes out for a goal kick…
3mins – Chris Humphrey fires back at the other end but his shot from the edge of the box curls way over the bar….
2mins – Colin McMenamin has the first half chance as he flicks a header towards goal. No trouble for Randolph though…
2min – Motherwell fans in great voice. Great backing for the lads in the middle of a Euro campaign.
1min – Motherwell get us underway here in Dingwall.
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“I was disappointed with the fact that we didn’t make more use of the ball that we had.
“We dominated the possession for a long time and we didn’t make any real clear-cut chances.
“They defended solidly but we can play better. We’ve got to take the positives, a clean sheet and the first point on the board.
“It was obviously going to be a tough first game against a newly-promoted side but I’m slightly disappointed in our own performance when we had the ball.
“But we’ll settle for a point because neither side deserved to win or lose.”
Ross County manager Derek Adams:
“I thought we coped with Motherwell very well, a team that came off a Champions League game with Panathinaikos.”
“They are quick on the wings and direct. I’m delighted to keep our 35-game unbeaten run going. We are happy.
“Motherwell started well and kept good possession. They didn’t open us up and that was important.
“It was a difficult occasion for us, our first game in the SPL, but we coped well and we are delighted to get the day over and done with and a point on the board.”