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Graham Alexander pleased Motherwell overcome tough week with Ross County win

Graham Alexander’s Motherwell edged a narrow victory (Steve Welsh/PA)
Graham Alexander’s Motherwell edged a narrow victory (Steve Welsh/PA)

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander was delighted to pick up all three points in his side’s cinch Premiership clash away to Ross County after a tough week with illness at Fir Park.

Eventual match winner Kevin Van Veen was one of those affected. The player had not trained at all during the week before coming off the substitutes’ bench to score the decisive penalty to move the Steelmen up to fifth place in the table.

Callum Slattery was the only other affected player to feature in Dingwall and Alexander says their inclusion was a big boost ahead of such a pivotal match.

“We were glad they put themselves forward for the team,” Alexander said at full-time.

“They wanted to be here with the boys to help us get the result.

“We knew we would be down in numbers but as long as we had enough quality to take this club forward, we knew we would be OK.

“Right at the end you could see the challenges flying in with some of the boys dead on their feet.

“They were throwing themselves in front of shots and Kelly had made some brilliant saves for us.”

On the flip side, it was a tough result for Staggies boss Malky Mackay to take after seeing his side slip out of the European places.

County created plenty of chances to score in both halves, but struggled to find the back of the net with a number of shots missing the target and ‘Well goalkeeper Liam Kelly making some important saves.

Mackay said: “We saw how Motherwell set up and that meant that we had a lot of the ball.

“In the first half, we shifted it about and had a lot of possession, but we also had three great chances and didn’t take them.

“In the second half we changed it, we moved Blair Spittal into the middle to pull the strings, which worked really well.

“We started getting at them. Joe Hungbo was causing issues on the right-hand side. Liam Kelly pulls off a couple of great saves, but we also have three or four that we don’t particularly test him with.

“It was a smash and grab, so I can’t ask any more in terms of our application and willingness to get into those areas and bravery.

“It’s just that calmness under fire to actually put the ball in the net.”