MOTHERWELL captain Keith Lasley admitted he thought he was going to miss out on tomorrow’s crucial Europa League tie in Iceland after fearing he was going to get sent off against Stjarnan.
The Fir Park outfit let slip a two-goal lead in the first leg, against the side who are unbeaten in their domestic league this term, despite new signing Josh Law scoring a double.
That was bad enough, but midfielder Lasley was firstly booked for handball to concede a penalty to allow Stjarnan back into the game. And when he was again penalised in injury time for tugging back substitute Rolf Toft to concede another spot-kick, the experienced skipper thought that Danish referee Michael Johansen was going to issue him with a second yellow card, which would have ruled him out of the second leg at the Samsung Vollurinn ground.
Lasley admitted: “At the time it was just initial disappointment at the way the penalty was conceded, but after it I probably looked back and I could have had a second yellow.
“It was one of those situations and I didn’t have a great night’s sleep after that. But it’s gone now and we just need to look forward and I’m certainly determined to bounce back from it on a personal level and try to help the team any way I can to progress.
“I just got myself in awkward positions and I was disappointed, but they created a couple of good chances outwith that and I don’t think 2-2 was an unfair reflection in the game.
“To be fair to their players they weren’t looking for a second booking which I was glad about because that might have got the referee thinking. I think they were too busy celebrating the fact they had a penalty so late on.
“From being lucky to be here, I just hope to play a part in what’s hopefully going to be a good night for us. But thinking back there’s every possibility I could have been suspended for this and I would have been gutted at that.”
Motherwell face a tricky second leg on Stjarnan’s artificial surface tomorrow – a pitch which is not even one of the newer versions which are popular in Scotland. But the 34-year-old won’t be using that as a reason if Motherwell don’t advance to face either Poles Lech Poznan or Nomme Kalju from Estonia.
He said: “We’re not looking to use the pitch as an excuse. We will just play the conditions as they are. We’ll get a chance to train on the pitch before the game so that will give us a feel for it.
“We just want to go out and win a game of football regardless of the surface and we believe we’re good enough to do it. We know we’re in a game and we just need to make sure we’re the better team on the night.”