Hibs 0-0 Motherwell: Ofir Marciano saves the day as Jack Ross’s men go top

Impressive visitors have to settle for a point after goal ruled out for offside

Ofir Marciano’s made a great save from Callum Lang to keep Hibs level. Photograph: Ross MacDonald/SNS

It had been 46 years since Hibernian had last kicked off a top-flight league season with four straight victories. This was the chance to equal that club record.

They passed it up but it could have been worse had it not been for a brilliant Ofir Marciano save early in the first half and then the intervention of officials to chalk off a Jordan White volley, after Sherwin Seedorf was caught offside.

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But, the draw was enough to move them back to the top of the Premiership standings, a point ahead of Rangers who play Livingston today.

Motherwell players celebrate but their goal was disallowed for an offside call. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS Group

The Hibs attack has been the focus of much of the praise lavished on the Easter Road side in the first few games, with goals and assists coming from across the frontline.

The foundation of their early success, though, has been resolute defensive displays and that was always going to prove a major obstacle to Motherwell making the breakthrough, even a Fir Park side with a major point to prove to Stephen Robinson.

The manager had raged at his squad in the wake of Wednesday night’s draw with Livingston, claiming that there had been too many passengers in the side’s opening three fixtures. But they had earned their first point of the campaign that night and their first goals, giving them something to build on in the capital.

And while they are still looking for that first win after a goalless draw at Easter Road, Robinson will be far happier with the input from his men, who gave him everything but a cutting edge.

They had more of the possession and enjoyed territorial advantage. The Fir Park side also eclipsed their hosts when it came to the number of chances conjured up. But the conversion rate was poor and they will kick themselves for not making more of their opportunities.

Daryl Horgan had tested Motherwell in the opening minutes but Declan Gallagher blocked, proving that anything the Hibs rearguard could do, the away side could match.

They were aided by the inclusion of new signing Stephen O’Donnell. The Scotland international may not have been match fit but he used his class to help silence the Hibs attack.

Callum Lang came close to opening the scoring in the sixth minute, cutting back inside on the left and then attempting to bend a strike into the net but, diving full length, Marciano got to it before it could sneak inside the far post.

Showing better movement in possession and chasing down every second ball, the Motherwell midfield were a handful and they were pushing and probing, looking for the weakness in the Hibs backline.

They couldn’t find it. A long ball forward to O’Donnell almost reaped reward as the full-back brought it down in the box and turned to get away a low left-foot shot but it went just wide.

But Motherwell were brave and despite their poorer start to the season, showed no fear against one of the form sides. Getting numbers forward, they were also wise to any Hibs counter-attack. They just weren’t clinical enough in front of goal, with Seedorf one of the guilty parties when he sent an angled drive over the bar.

Then came the offside goal, which infuriated the Well manager who felt his men deserved the win it would have given them. Seedorf 
was to blame, straying into an offside position. The guests had peeled away to celebrate but a discussion between the farside assistant and the referee saw the team punished for Seedorf’s encroachment.

Hibs had the odd half chance and Christian Doidge should have done better with Joe Newell’s delivery in the second half but headed over.

Both teams shook things up a bit, sending on more creative options, but no-one could conjure up the bit of magic needed to breach the determined defences, with Boyle sclaffing an effort into the side netting, when more was expected. Doidge then tried his luck with a bicycle kick but was off target and the Welshman was then matched by Gallagher, who foiled him at the back post.

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