THERE was possibly no paint left on the walls of the away dressing room at Fir Park once Derek McInnes was finished with his players.

The Aberdeen manager was well within his rights to give his team the mother and father of all bollockings. They were utterly dreadful, weak in every department, some genuinely looked disinterested and might even have played their way out of next Sunday’s League Cup final with Celtic.

Aberdeen conceded a goal from their own corner, then didn’t defend a set-piece and made a hash of clearing their lines. Motherwell were good, this was their best performance of the season, but dearie me this was woeful performance from McInnes’s side.

“It was an awful performance and a total contrast to how we’ve been on late,” said McInnes. “We’ve shown resilience, kept plenty clean sheets and restricted the opponents but today we were well beaten all over the pitch and two of the goals we conceded were calamitous.

“To lose a goal 10 seconds after winning a corner is something you cannot legislate for and the second goal we lacked some size but you could see (Danny) Johnson wanted to get on the end of the ball to put it in the back of the net.

“We looked for a response but the subs never offered much to change the game and the third goal came from a ricochet but it was no less than Motherwell deserved and we have a lot of work to do ahead of the cup final.

“We’ve got to look at this but we cannot dwell on it and we have to focus on what could be a fantastic weekend for us. It’s important we all knuckle down and bring a performance that is needed to win a cup final."

McInnes was spot-on to be fair to him but his side's woefulness shouldn't take away from an excellent Motherwell performance.

Aberdeen actually began the game okay but things started to go seriously awry after 25 minutes. They had a corner, whatever move they planned didn’t come off, and Niall McGinn ended up trying to pass the ball back to last man Shay Logan on the halfway line.

Johnson intercepted, the pass was woeful, and he ran at a back-peddling Logan. An unmarked Liam Grimshaw, plus every home supporter, screamed for Johnson to pass it, but he ploughed on, managed to cut inside Logan and his finish was sublime.

Five minutes later, and Gael Bigirimana almost caught out Aberdeen keeper Joe Lewis with a clever free-kick. He shaped to hit the ball left, he chose right and Lewis only just got his hand down too make the save.

However, from that corner, taken by Bigirimana, first Curtis Main won a header and then Johnson whose effort had enough on it to send the ball past Lewis.

The game was won ten minutes in the half.

A cross into the Aberdeen box ping-balled off red shirts, Lewis Ferguson’s clearance hit Andrew Considine, the ball fell to David Turnball who did really well to take his time before finding the bottom corner.

It could easily have been more.

“It was a good performance and a good reaction from what happened against Rangers a few weeks ago,” said Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson. “I thought we were well organised, physical when we had to be, but we had the quality too.

“We have had to change things slightly but we have won three out of four. We want more ownership of the ball, but still to be strong at the back. There were a lot of characteristics similar to last season and that was pleasing.”


Motherwell: Johnson 25, 30, Turnball 55

Aberdeen: None