Done: Hibs’ Euro dream back on

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez was a satisfied man after his side

finally overcame some stubborn resistance from Brentford to win

their FA Cup fourth round replay at Stamford Bridge.

It took 54 minutes before Juan Mata opened the scoring for the

Blues against the League One side but goals from Oscar, Frank

Lampard and the recalled John Terry then gave the final 4-0

scoreline a flattering look.

Benitez, whose team now travel to Middlesbrough in the fifth

round, said: “Credit to them because the first half they were

working very hard, but afterwards it was a question of time.

“We knew scoring first could be the difference. They would be

more open and we would have more space.

‘I’m pleased to score four goals and create chances. I’m really

pleased with Oscar and Demba Ba did a great job keeping them

busy.”

The Spaniard also paid tribute to Lampard after he took his

tally of goals for the club to 199.

“The team is doing well and Frank is on fire so he is scoring

goals and that is good for him and good for us,” he said.

Chelsea have now won three successive matches following last

weekend’s victory over Wigan and the Europa League defeat of Sparta

Prague and Benitez is keen to keep the run going.

“In football you have to win games and for a top side it is even

more important because everybody expects you to win every game,” he

added.

“I have said before that this is a team in transition. I think

we have good players and little by little we can manage to improve

the understanding between players and everyone is even better and

we can continue winning games.”

Higdon took his personal tally for the season against Inverness

to six goals with a simple tap-in and a wonderful left-footed

volley as Motherwell secured an ultimately convincing 3-0 win.

Motherwell can move five points clear in second on Tuesday if

they beat Dundee United at home, and Higdon intends to keep the

impressive home form going after they made it 13 points and 15

goals from five games at Fir Park.

The former St Mirren forward said: “We’re in a good position and

have a couple of games in hand on the teams around us.

“It’s good we have a game coming up on Tuesday because we would

rather play than train, especially when we are on winning form.

“We want to carry on the way we are going. We just want to go

out and express ourselves, and I thought we did that with some

outstanding performances.”

Higdon opened the scoring on Saturday after an entertaining

first half hour when he was on hand to convert Henrik Ojamaa’s

mis-hit shot, and Motherwell built on their lead in the opening

stages of the second half.

Nicky Law burst into the box and converted after some good

skill, before Higdon’s first-time strike from 18 yards put the game

beyond Caley Thistle in the 56th minute.

Kallum Higginbotham made his first start after being brought in

when Jamie Murphy left for Sheffield United and the on-loan

Huddersfield player produced a cultured display.

McCall said: “He got off to a good start, a great effort which

everyone thought was in from the bench.

“He did a lot of good things, playing in a similar role to

Murphy. We showed him clips of how Jamie had played up at

Inverness, just in an area of a park we can try to exploit at

times.

“He can play in that area just off the front and slightly to the

left.”

Higginbotham could potentially have competition for a place in

the shape of James McFadden, although McCall played down

expectations that the Scotland international could sign a contract

after rejoining his former club for training.

When asked about McFadden, McCall said: “We have just won 3-0

and gone second top. James has been in training with us just like

he was at the beginning of the season.”

However, it is understood a more formal arrangement is a

possibility and could suit both parties.

Motherwell are sure to get a lift on and off the park from the

return of McFadden, who netted 32 goals for the club as a teenager,

and the 29-year-old needs games to rejuvenate his career after

making just three substitute appearances in his short spell with

Sunderland.

Meanwhile, Inverness goalkeeper Ryan Esson vowed they would

bounce back after their fifth defeat in six games.

Not for the first time in recent weeks, events conspired against

Caley Thistle. Andrew Shinnie had a goal ruled out for offside when

he followed up Aaron Doran’s saved shot, moments before Higdon’s

opener.

Esson said: “We know how good a team we are. We wouldn’t be

where we are if we weren’t a good team.

“Anybody that’s writing us off is underestimating us and the

character that we’ve got.

“You don’t do some of the things we have done this year –

(coming back from) 2-0 down at Hibs, 2-0 at Hearts with 10 men, 3-0

down at Dundee United – you don’t do comebacks like that and not

have character in your team.

“The boys are together, there is a good team spirit and we are

positive.”

Terry headed the fourth goal in a 4-0 win as Chelsea reached the

fifth round of the FA Cup.

A report today claimed Terry and Benitez clashed earlier this

month, but the captain branded it “rubbish” and said the two were

on good terms.

“It was good to get on the scoresheet and good to be back,” he

told ITV.

“The manager knows me and I want to play. I have been out for

two or three months (with a knee injury), but the other two

(centre-backs) have been doing well.

“It’s good to have competition.”

Terry admitted that Chelsea found it tough to break down

Brentford, with all four goals coming in the second half.

“They made it very difficult,” he added. “(They had) two banks

of four and sat very deep.”

A brace from Chris Dagnall and a Marlon Harewood strike were

enough to see off the Dons, who scored a consolation through Dean

Bowditch and had Alan Smith sent off in injury time.

There was also a serious injury to Barnsley midfielder Kelvin

Etuhu and an altercation between Tykes’ boss David Flitcroft and an

MK Dons supporter.

Steele was a member of the Barnsley team who reached the

semi-finals of the competition in 2008 and he is hopeful they can

reach that stage once more.

When asked if he believed the team were capable of replicating

the performance of five years ago Steele said: “Definitely, I love

the FA Cup like every player I’m sure does and should.

“It was a big match and the manager said before the game that we

are fighting for a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and

when someone says it out loud it hits you that you’ve been in the

situation before.”

A shock 2-1 win at Liverpool in the fifth round set Barnsley up

for a quarter-final clash with Chelsea in 2008 and they upset the

odds to reach a Wembley semi-final that they ultimately lost to

Cardiff.

Steele reckons the win over MK Dons was just as important as the

success at Anfield and said Barnsley did not underestimate their

lower-league opponents.

He said: “It was as big as that because we are into the quarter

finals and there are only eight teams left, it is a marvellous

challenge.

“Whoever we get it is not an issue, I was pleased with the last

draw – coming here was still a massive challenge but the manager

drilled it into us that we couldn’t let off.

“We were so professional today, we got the job done in the end

and we really deserve to be in the hat.”

Etuhu was stretchered off the pitch during the second half after

an accidental clash of heads with MK Dons’ Adam Chicksen.

Flitcroft said after the game that the image of Etuhu lying

prone on the stretcher will ‘haunt’ him forever.

The Barnsley boss also confronted a fan who was aiming abuse at

one of his players.

Flitcroft could not go into detail but said he was protecting

his players and that a fellow MK Dons supporter had reported the

abusive fan to the stewards, who promptly ejected him.

Both MK Dons and Barnsley released a joint statement later in

the evening to clarify matters.

“The spectator in question has been interviewed by Police;

currently Thames Valley Police have no evidence to suggest the

alleged gesture was of a racist nature,” the statement read. “MK

Dons will continue to monitor footage of the area where the alleged

incident took place.

“Barnsley Football Club has placed on record its thanks to MK

Dons FC, the stewards and the police for their professional and

efficient handling of the situation.

“Both Barnsley Football Club and MK Dons Football Club are

committed to making football a family-friendly environment and will

not tolerate abusive or aggressive behaviour of any nature.”

MK Dons manager Karl Robinson was left aggrieved by the

sending-off of Smith and confirmed that he will look to appeal

against the decision of referee Michael Jones, who dismissed the

former England international when he went into an aerial challenge

with Rory Delap.

“With regards to Smithy’s sending-off, the referee said to me

that he was sent off for contact in the back of the head whereas

I’ve seen it back on ITV and the contact is below the arm,” he

said.

“Rory Delap also said after the game that it wasn’t even a

free-kick. I’m going to appeal it.”

The Easter Road outfit have been as high as second place in the

SPL standings this term but a run of just two wins in 11 games saw

them sink to fifth.

However, Saturday’s 1-0 victory over St Mirren in Paisley –

courtesy of Leigh Griffiths’ second-half penalty – moves them back

up to fourth and on course for Europa League qualification.

Done, a recent loan arrival from Barnsley, claims that lofty

position will not be given up again so meekly this time.

The 24-year-old, who controversially won Hibs’ spot-kick when he

went down easily in the box as Saints skipper Jim Goodwin

challenged him for a cross, said: “It’s a funny old league now.

“We’re up to fourth and it’s in our hands now. We’ve just got to

win every game we play and we are capable of that after today’s

performance.”

The win at St Mirren Park followed Monday’s abject display at

home to St Johnstone which allowed the Perth men to march off with

a 3-1 win.

Done, though, was relieved to see he and his team-mates put in a

far better performance yesterday.

He said: “It was disappointing to lose on Monday and it’s been a

long week since. But we have worked hard the last few days on

putting that right and we felt confident going into today.

“It showed throughout the game. We looked comfortable. On

Monday, it was too easy for St Johnstone to attack against us. They

seemed to get in every time they got the ball, which was

worrying.

“It was night and day between the performances. The effort was

there on Monday but it was over-enthusiastic and there was no

thought behind what we were doing.

“Today was much, much better.”

St Mirren, by contrast, suffered their first defeat in five

matches and defender Marc McAusland was happy just to see the back

of striker Griffiths.

Hibs have won all three of the clubs’ meetings this season, with

on-loan Wolves frontman Griffiths bagging all five of the Edinburgh

outfit’s goals.

McAusland said: “I’m sick of the sight of him. He’s scored a few

against us this season and won them the game twice here at St

Mirren Park now. So he’s not on my mates list or anything like that

now.”