Football - McCall delight as Higdon cashes in

Motherwell manager Stuart McCall hailed the character, skill and luck of Michael Higdon after the striker broke the club's post-war goalscoring record on the day he scooped the Fir Park lottery.

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Football - McCall delight as Higdon cashes in
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Michael Higdon has scored 25 goals for Motherwell this season

There was nothing fortunate about Higdon's double in a 3-1 win over Dundee United, which ensured Celtic must wait to be crowned Clydesdale Bank Premier League champions.

The Englishman fired in off the post from 25 yards in the second minute and struck from 20 yards after the break to take his tally to the season to 25 goals, 24 of them in the SPL. That takes him beyond Willie Pettigrew's total in 1975-76, which was previously the highest top-flight return for a Fir Park forward since the Second World War.

McCall said: "When big Michael has not played well this season he has scored, and when he has not scored he has played well. Tonight he did both - he led the line superbly and also scored two goals. He also won the Motherwell lottery, £750, so everything has been going for him. When we win, it's a fiver but he won £750 in a rollover. That sums him up at the minute."

Higdon, who is out of contract in the summer, has won the Motherwell support over in emphatic fashion after a difficult start when the level of his all-round play was not always appreciated.

The former St Mirren forward received an SFA ban for his "offensive" celebration after scoring an equaliser at Tannadice in January last year, which ironically proved the turning point in his relationship.

"It was here when he got a bit of stick and did his gesture," McCall said. "He will be the first to say he is sometimes not pleasing on the eye and if things aren't going for him, he beats himself up if he's not at his best. He's a terrific guy to have in the dressing room and I'm delighted he has broken his record. I'm delighted for him and the whole team."

Higdon's opener was soon followed by a Henrik Ojamaa strike in the eighth minute and Darren Randolph protected the lead before Higdon struck again, with Jon Daly pulling one back in a spirited response from the hosts.

And United boss Jackie McNamara bemoaned his side's poor start - following on from Kris Commons' second-minute opener for Celtic in last weekend's Scottish Cup semi-final.

McNamara said: "The first one was a good strike and you can't take anything away from that but we maybe could have stopped the shot. The second one was disappointing, from a throw-in, and he ran right through. It wasn't good defending. We battled hard and had a few chances where their keeper has done well. I knew the next goal would be crucial and I'm disappointed it wasn't us that got it."

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