Kilmarnock’s Stephen O’Donnell goes from sick bed to match winner at Motherwell

Kilmarnock defender Stephen O’Donnell climbed out of his sick bed to earn his side a crucial three points with a 25-yard strike at Motherwell.

The right-back was sick overnight and struggled to get out of bed in the morning but took the gamble of playing after some extra sleep and saw it pay off in style.

The former Partick Thistle and Luton player struck the only goal in the 34th minute as Killie leapfrogged Motherwell into sixth place in the Ladbrokes Premiership with a three-point lead and two games in hand.

Killie manager Steve Clarke said: “I got a call at nine o’clock this morning from my physio saying that Stephen had been sick overnight. We lost Aaron Tshibola overnight as well, he trained on Friday and I thought he was going to be fit but he went down sick overnight.

“Stephen phoned in to say he was sick but he was willing to come in and give it a try. So credit to Stephen. It was a good performance and a terrific goal. You don’t see many cleanly-struck daisy-cutters like that one but it was right in the corner. It was a great strike.”

Killie withstood 13 corners from the visitors as they sat in and protected their lead in the second half.

Clarke said: “First half we probably shaded it, I thought we were decent. Motherwell were stronger second half, we looked a little bit jaded, especially towards the end, we couldn’t get out. But we dug in and showed great resilience.

“The team is in a really good moment and they are working for every point they get. I’m pleased to get three points from here because it’s a really difficult place to come.”

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson endured a frustrating day as his side’s domination of the ball came to nothing.

“We had large amounts of possession and we put 30 crosses into the box but somebody has to get on the end of them,” Robinson said.

“Our decision-making in the final third wasn’t good enough at times – we had four or five opportunities to put someone through in one-on-one situations and chose the wrong option.

“Other than that, we were excellent – we rarely felt under any threat. But Killie have done very well. They’ve gone with two banks of four, defended with their lives and blocked everything, throwing their bodies on the ball, and we just didn’t have the touch we needed to get the equaliser.”

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