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.