Higdon treble sinks Hibs

PA Sport
Michael Higdon (right)
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Michael Higdon (right)

Michael Higdon scored a hat-trick as Motherwell moved to within three points of Rangers with a 4-3 defeat of Hibernian in a pulsating Clydesdale Bank Premier League encounter.

Isaiah Osbourne fired Hibs into a half-time lead at Fir Park, before Higdon (penalty) and Jamie Murphy put the hosts ahead - only for the visitors to respond immediately through Matt Doherty.

Motherwell took the lead for the second time through a wonderful overhead kick from Higdon on 70 minutes and the Englishman then added his third from the penalty spot five minutes later. Ivan Sproule blasted Hibs' third beyond Darren Randolph after the home side had failed to deal with George Francomb's corner.

After Doherty had done well to block a Higdon drive, Hibernian opened the scoring after 17 minutes. Tim Clancy's short headed backpass was intercepted by Leigh Griffiths, who charged forward and cut the ball back for Osbourne to blast into the net.

Higdon was a constant threat to the Hibernian defence and he forced Graham Stack into a smart low stop after connecting with Omar Daley's looping cross just after the half-hour mark. Stack did well to keep out Daley's shot two minutes later and despite being well placed, Murphy could not divert the rebound goalwards.

Osbourne almost added his second of the night when his charging run ended with a powerful effort that ended inches wide, before Daley shot well over as the first half came to an end. Motherwell were awarded a penalty two minutes after the restart when Henrik Ojamaa was upended by Stack. Higdon despatched the kick low into the left-hand corner.

Only a brilliant block by Darren Randolph at the feet of Griffiths prevented Hibs from restoring their lead - but in the 63rd minute it was 2-1 to Well when Murphy slid in at the back post to turn Daley's cross beyond Stack.

The visitors levelled almost immediately when Doherty blasted past Randolph after the Motherwell defence had failed to clear Griffiths' corner. Following the Hibernian equaliser Stuart McCall removed the tiring Daley and replaced him with Chris Humphrey. The visitors made a change of their own when Martin Scott came on for Jorge Claros.

Four minutes after being pegged back Motherwell restored their lead in style. Stack denied Ojamaa, but when Murphy chipped the ball back into the penalty area Higdon unleashed a wonderful overhead kick that left the Hibernian stopper helpless.

Higdon made it 4-2 in the 75th minute, completing his hat-trick from the spot after Doherty brought down the onrushing Ojamaa. The visitors dragged themselves back into the game five minutes from time when Sproule drilled home after Francomb's corner had caused problems for the Motherwell defence - but the hosts held on.

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