McGhee's men on spot for win

MOTHERWELL 2

O'Donnell 85; McCormack 90 pen

INVERNESS CT 1

Tokely 82

A GRANDSTAND finish from Motherwell ensured manager Mark McGhee enjoyed his first victory at Fir Park and continued his dream start to the SPL.

Late goals from Phil O'Donnell and a last-gasp penalty by sub Ross McCormack made it a perfect six out of six following last week's 1-0 win over St Mirren.

And once again Motherwell showed all their courage having to haul themselves back from the brink after Ross Tokely appeared to have nabbed the points for Inverness.

After their comprehensive 3-0 defeat at home last week by Rangers, Caley manager Charlie Christie hoped to boost his squad by handing a debut to new signing Marius Niculae after the Romanian obtained the permit required to play in Scotland.

Certainly, there was a roar of expectation as the Motherwell players ran onto the field and only time will tell if this is to be a bright new dawn under the stewardship of McGhee.

Not that Caley were interested in what the future holds for yesterday's opponents. Following the disappointment of being swept aside by Rangers, they were simply focused on picking up their first points in what could be an extremely demanding season although Christie's team have coped, admirably in the past couple of years.

Caley were first to threaten after just seven minutes but Don Cowie's cross into the box had too much pace for lurking strikers, Niculae and Dennis Wyness.

It was already shaping up to be an end-to-end affair and in the 15th minute it was the turn of the Caley defence to sweat a bit when Keith Lasley's cross fell to David Clarkson who slid in with the ball, but any threat was quickly mopped up by goalkeeper Michael Fraser.

Steve McGarry, last week's goal hero for Motherwell, had the ball in the net within the space of three minutes but the flag was already up for offside.

Niculae was working hard for his Caley team-mates and he did well to steer the ball across the face of goal from the right but sadly there were no takers on this occasion.

Who was going to break the deadlock was anyone's guess at this stage although McGarry underlined his intent with a well struck first-time volley from the right-hand side of the box which flew straight into the arms of Fraser.

With the interval fast approaching, Motherwell goalkeeper Graeme Smith had to race off his goal line to stop Caley's Ian Black putting his side ahead.

No-one could fault the effort put in by both teams, unfortunately all that was missing was a cutting edge in front of goal to light up an otherwise grey and rainy afternoon in Lanarkshire.

With half an hour to go Cowie had a chance to do just that after he pounced on a slip from 'Well defender Mark Reynolds but he chipped the ball inches over onto the roof netting.

Fraser did superbly for Caley when he managed to block an angled drive from the boot of Keith Lasley which was warmly applauded by the travelling support.

McGarry, brimming with enthusiasm, burst through down the right and got hold of his shot well but it didn't have the direction required to cause Fraser any problems.

And just when it appeared we were heading for stalemate, Tokely showed tremendous presence for Caley when he ever so cooly first timed a Cowie free kick into the corner of the net. But with seven minutes to go Motherwell midfielder Phil O'Donnell made it 1-1 with a brilliant header into the top corner and there was more joy - and despair for Caley - as McCormack rifled his penalty home in the 89th minute after Grant Munro caught David Clarkson. Munro was furious and clearly felt his opponent had made a meal of it but that didn't stop McCormack completing the job.