Happy birthday for Higdon

PA Sport
Stuart McCall, pictured, was delighted with the performance of Motherwell's hat-trick hero Michael Higdon
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Stuart McCall, pictured, was delighted with the performance of Motherwell's hat-trick hero Michael Higdon

Manager Stuart McCall showered praise on Michael Higdon as the striker celebrated his 29th birthday with a hat-trick in Motherwell's 4-1 defeat of Inverness.

Tom Hateley opened the scoring for the hosts in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League match, with Higdon's contribution - plus a late penalty save from home goalkeeper Darren Randolph - ensuring the men from Fir Park entered the international break at the top of the table.

Inverness, who scored through Richie Foran, had no answer to Higdon, and McCall said: "It was a real centre-forward's display, not just his goals but the way he led the line and his link-up play. It's a great day for him and for the club."

McCall added: "We talked last week about getting a good start and went 1-0 up in the first two minutes against St Mirren. It was two in 12 minutes, but Inverness can cause us lots of problems.

"It was a really good entertaining game and I thought we got the upper hand in the second half, but even at 2-0 against Terry Butcher's sides, you're never comfortable, and they got a goal back which I thought they deserved. Foran gave our two young centre-backs a physical test in the first half but we stood up to it.

"We got a good performance and a good victory. I've got to be very pleased with that and delighted for the players, and it's nice to go into a break on the back of a win."

Inverness counterpart Terry Butcher was disappointed by the nature of the goals scored by his former team, as the Highlanders conceded four for a second consecutive league game.

He said: "If you give away goals like that in the SPL, you're going to get hammered. To lose two goals so early in the match, but especially the first one, was really disappointing. We've given away cheap goals but we always have to work hard to score. The manner of the goals is very much cause for concern.

"We played some good stuff and always looked at 2-1 as though we could get something from the game, but it hinged on the second chance for Richie Foran [at the end of the first half]. Motherwell scored a couple more and ran out comfortable winners.

"I'm not happy. Eight goals in two games is not good enough but we'll work on it, we have two weeks to ponder that now and it's just disappointing again."

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