MOTHERWELL topped League Cup Group G with an ultimately straight-forward victory over East Fife, as goals from Lennon Miller, Connor Wilkinson and Callum Slattery gave the Steelmen safe passage into the last 16 of the tournament.

The visitors started brightly enough, but after falling behind they also lost Jonathan Page to a first-half red card after a tangle with Blair Spittal, the centre-back seeming to stand on the arm of his opponent as he lay prone on the surface.

To round off a good day for the hosts, results elsewhere allowed them to claim a seeded spot in the draw, though referee Kevin Clancy got an earful from Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell after blowing for time just seconds over the 90-minute mark despite a head knock that required lengthy treatment and numerous substitutions. It mattered not in the end.

Here are the talking points from Fir Park…


Whisper it, but Motherwell might just have another star on their hands in the shape of 16-year-old midfielder Miller. Thankfully for the Fir Park faithful though, at least they have this particular young talent tied down to a contract for another two years.

After losing Max Johnston for the relative peanuts offered by training compensation, they may be wise to extend that deal further on the evidence here. He was simply brilliant to watch as he put on something of a midfield masterclass.

Yes, the level of opposition has to be taken into account, and Motherwell manager Kettlewell will want to temper any hype around his prodigious talent, but he seems to have everything in his locker to go right to the top.

His technical ability is not in question, he has an impressive range of passing, he possesses an eye for goal and he doesn’t mind getting stuck in either.

He rounded off his exciting display here with the opening goal of the encounter, a strike that came just after East Fife probably should have taken the lead. A free kick delivered into the Motherwell box caused all sorts of bother for the home defence, but they eventually scrambled clear and hit East Fife with a devastating counter.

Harry Paton did well to hold off the attention of two defenders to get the ball to Callum Slattery, who spotted Miller galloping through the centre of the park and duly played him in on goal. The youngster showed great composure as he took his time and then placed the ball across goalkeeper Allan Fleming and into the bottom corner.

Impressive, all round.


It has been a slow start to Wilkinson’s Motherwell career as the big forward searches for form and full fitness, and with the responsibility of replacing Kevin van Veen as the focal point of the Steelmen’s attack, he really needed a goal to kick-start his spell in Lanarkshire.

He got it here with a well-placed long-range effort for Motherwell’s second goal of the day – though visiting keeper Fleming will feel he should have done better as he laboured to get across his goal – and the relief in his celebration was evident.

He could and should have got at least one more goal, as a mistake from East Fife allowed him to run clean through, only to hit his effort straight at Ferrie. As the ball was recycled, he did eventually tuck the ball home from Stephen O’Donnell’s cross, only for the assistant referee to flag him offside.

He then left the action before the end after taking a clatter to the head, but at least he is off the mark, and while he has a long way to go to show he can be as pivotal as a certain big Dutchman was around these parts, that will be encouraging for the striker.


While most of the chatter around Fir Park surrounded the man – or boy – playing beside Slattery in the Motherwell midfield, there was much to be said also for the performance of the more experienced man in the middle of the park for the hosts.

Slattery has always had the talent, but some off-field issues and a propensity for ill discipline on the pitch have also been listed in the con column against his name. At the start of this season though, as he enters the final year of his Motherwell contract, he looks as lean and as motivated as he ever has during his time at the club.

His own impressive showing was capped off with Motherwell’s third goal of the day, the former Southampton man showing great footwork to dance his way into the East Fife area and find Fleming's bottom right-hand corner with a fine strike.

If he can keep this level of form, he will perhaps become as pivotal to this Motherwell team as he has always had the potential to be.