Riordan stars as Hibs down Well

Riordan quickly cancelled out Nick Blackman’s early penalty before
capitalising on a blunder from Stephen Craigan to hit a 27th-minute
winner and justify his recall following suspension. Hibs then
showed the resolve to deprive Motherwell of chances and ensured the
win which followed up their 3-0 victory over Rangers in midweek.
Calderwood left out David Wotherspoon from his successful Ibrox
line-up to accommodate Riordan, who had been suspended after his
red card in the closing stages of Hibs’ Edinburgh derby defeat.
Riordan did pay some price for his needless lunge on Rudi Skacel by
losing the captain’s armband to Ian Murray but he twice linked up
with the physical Valdas Trakys to atone for his indiscretion.
There was also a comeback for Dougie McDonald, who was taking
charge of his first Clydesdale Bank Premier League encounter since
being warned by the Scottish Football Association for lying over
the circumstances of his decision to rescind a Celtic penalty at
Dundee United last month. The referee refused to shy away from
controversy, appearing to book eight players and handing Motherwell
a 10th-minute penalty when Michael Hart felled Jamie Murphy. Hart
put in a risky sliding challenge after the Motherwell winger had
got round him on the outside, although the Hibs player claimed he
had won the ball. Blackman took his Motherwell tally to nine goals
by emphatically converting the spot-kick into the top corner.
Motherwell failed to build on their goal and Hibs were level four
minutes later. There appeared to be little danger when Trakys
chested the ball into Riordan’s path 22 yards out but his
first-time effort appeared to wrongfoot Darren Randolph before
nestling in the bottom corner. The goal lifted the hosts and
Riordan was presented with an easier chance but shot well over from
12 yards after Randolph had blocked Edwin de Graaf’s flick
following an excellent cross from Jonathan Grounds. But Riordan
grabbed his second after Craigan’s error allowed the former Celtic
player to slot home from 12 yards. Motherwell had gone missing as
an attacking force following their opener but they sprung into
action after switching to a back three. Alan Gow headed Chris
Humphrey’s cross back across the face of goal and both Humphrey and
Murphy came close. But Motherwell could not sustain their pressure
for the rest of the half and they struggled to break Hibs down
after the break. Riordan had two half-chances to complete his
hat-trick before the hour mark, curling a free-kick just over and
then rounding Randolph only to see Mark Reynolds sweep up. The game
was held up for more than five minutes after Gow caught Francis
Dickoh late with an aerial challenge. The Hibernian defender was
carried off on a stretcher with Paul Hanlon coming on and Gow
continuing after treatment. Steven Saunders had the ball in the net
in the 71st minute but he was immediately flagged offside following
Steve Jennings’ through-ball. The officials found themselves at the
heart of controversy when McDonald let go a clear handball from
John Rankin deep inside his own half before Riordan was dubiously
flagged offside from the midfielder’s subsequent pass. McDonald
appeared to flash his yellow card at Saunders, Humphrey and
Jennings as the Motherwell players protested. The visitors pushed
forward but they were frustrated by a solid Hibs unit, which now
had Steven Thicot on for the booked Liam Miller alongside Murray in
central midfield. Riordan came closer to his hat-trick in the 88th
minute with a brilliant turn and volley, matched by Randolph’s
fingertip save and Grounds soon curled just wide. Hibs remained
firm and the game almost boiled over during seven minutes of injury
time. Murray and Craigan were booked after the Hibs captain’s poor
challenge on Randolph sparked a scuffle and Reynolds and Trakys
were also cautioned after the Motherwell defender reacted angrily
to a late challenge.