24 Dec McGhee critical in defeat
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee bemoaned the concession of two “diabolical” first-half goals in their 3-1 home defeat by Aberdeen.
Niall McGinn sealed three Ladbrokes Premiership points at Fir Park by sweeping home on a 90th-minute counter-attack but the damage had been done in an action-packed first half.
Motherwell gifted Graeme Shinnie a sixth-minute opener after a poor pass from goalkeeper Craig Samson and a risky clearance from Ben Heneghan.
Scott McDonald hooked a brilliant equaliser before Samson presented Adam Rooney with the chance to go down in the box when he spilled Kenny McLean’s long-range strike. Contact was minimal and Rooney threw himself over but McGhee rued the failure to save, although he felt there had been a free-kick to his team in the build-up.
Motherwell squandered a chance when Joe Lewis saved Louis Moult’s penalty after Keith Lasley was caught by the knee of Mark Reynolds and Aberdeen were reasonably comfortable after the break.
McGhee said: “I can’t get anything out my head other than the nature of the first two goals. They were ridiculous. We were under no pressure, we looked the more likely for me, we were comfortable and doing what I hoped we would do, and somehow we conspired to concede two goals that they have not really earned. It was diabolical really. We gifted them really.”
On Rooney’s penalty, McGhee said: ” It was an easy penalty. The lad is entitled to it. I’m a centre-forward and I would have done the same. But I think he played for it and got it. The referee has then got a call to make and made a poor call.
“The other one, all I saw was Las go up in the air. Las has got a dead leg which has forced him to leave the game. Las says it was a penalty and I trust his judgement and honesty.”
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes was delighted with his side’s second-half display.
“Both penalties were similar, potentially both were soft, Adam insisted there was contact,” McInnes said. “It looked as if Adam knew what he was trying to do. He felt contact and went down and we have been victims of that ourselves.
“I can understand if they feel harshly done by but for me the letter of the law it probably was a penalty, but I haven’t seen it again and am reluctant to comment.
“Reynolds is adamant that he stopped to try and not make contact and he thought it was more Lasley ran into him. So both had a case of being of the soft variety.
“Thankfully we scored ours at the second attempt and Joe saved theirs and it was a pivotal moment. It could have made the second half much more difficult but in the end what we should focus on was a very controlled, aggressive, hard-working second-half performance which totally merited three points.”