ONE minute you’re lapping up European victories, the next you’re toiling on a Sunday afternoon in Motherwell.

The reality of juggling domestic and continental challenges came at Hibs fast at Fir Park, as goals from Connor Wilkinson and inspiratonal debutant Mika Biereth left Lee Johnson’s side winless in their opening two Premiership matches.

The Hibees looked jaded from downing Luzern on Thursday night, and were made to pay by a Motherwell side who grafted their way to an important victory despite Adam Le Fondre’s late penalty consolation.

Here are five talking points from Lanarkshire.

Cagey in Lanarkshire

We eventually got three goals to savour, but this certainly wasn’t a classic.

Chances were few and far between in the opening half, but Motherwell certainly had the better of them. Dan Casey’s header crashing against the bar after a brilliant run and clipped cross from Pape Soare on the left flank.

They had a few other moments without applying the final touch, Callum Slattery’s teasing delivery was let down by the absence of a claret and amber jersey to turn it home as the ball flashed across David Marshall’s goal mouth. After the break, a quick turnover sent Blair Spittal galloping free but he dragged his shot wide of the left-hand post.

Opportunities were even scarcer for Hibs. Christian Doidge cut a largely frustrated figure throughout, and the closest he came was a looping header from a corner that landed on the roof of Liam Kelly’s net. Not even the introduction of the usually effervescent Boyle could lift the lethargy, and eventually they paid for it. Le Fondre's spot-kick conversion - awarded for handball following a VAR check - briefly raised hopes of an unlikely revival, but it was too little, too late.

Biereth the hero

It had been a dry day for every forward on the pitch until Wilkinson finally broke the deadlock, the kind of afternoon that leaves strikers feeling they deserve to have one laid on a plate for them.

That moment eventually arrived, but it took the introduction of strike colleague and debutant Mika Biereth to make it happen. Motherwell’s summer signing, on-loan from Arsenal, looks a real grafter, refusing to give the Hibs backline a moment’s peace after his second-half introduction.

His willingness to hassle and harry was crucial for the winning goal, catching out Lewis Stevenson as he tried to see the ball out of play on the right wing. It was a costly error from a player of such experience, and it allowed Biereth to charge into the box and cut back for Wilkinson to finish.

The 20-year-old then made the points safe with a superb goal of his own, outmuscling Will Fish after being played in behind, then keeping his cool – even when it looked like he’d taken one touch too many – to fashion half a yard and drill into the bottom corner.

Hibs rotate, but fail to impress

It’s a busy old schedule for the Edinburgh side at the moment as they bid to secure group stage football in the Conference League, and it’s forcing Johnson to use the full extent of his squad. The Hibs manager admitted pre-match that, but for injuries, he would have made more than the three changes to the team that beat Luzern on Thursday night.

The result was a disjointed first-half to which Johnson reacted by introducing Martin Boyle and Adam Le Fondre at the interval for Dylan Levitt and Dylan Vente, both of whom had been peripheral figures. Vente enjoyed a dream debut in midweek but he barely had a touch of the ball, which, to be honest, says as much about a lack of service as it does about the Dutchman. But his manager is certainly not reluctant to make swift changes when he does not like what he’s seeing.

Hibs had made two subs with less than half an hour played in last week’s defeat to St Mirren, and they eventually grew into the game only to then lose a galling late winner. But nothing Johnson did here brought anything like the best from his players.

Thursday night was an intense and draining 90 minutes, and Hibs did not have that same zip about them here. But that is the challenge they must face if they are to marry domestic ambitions with forays into Europe. Those quick turnarounds can be debilitating for sides who are not used to the demands, and it seems the Hibees are still adapting.

Well making strides

Kettlewell admitted his frustration at not taking maximum points from Dens Park in last week’s season opener, but will feel his team got their just rewards here. Motherwell sit fourth after two matches, and their next league game is again a winnable one at home to Kilmarnock, who struggled badly on the road last season.

Making a strong start was important for Kettlewell’s side considering their September schedule involves playing both Celtic and Rangers, while also taking on Hearts and St Mirren. They look a far more robust outfit under Kettlewell’s leadership, his appointment continuing to look a shrewd one.

Hibs remain winless

After the high of midweek, this was a sobering Sunday for Hibs. They will head for Switzerland this week with a real chance of reaching a glamorous Conference League play-off against Aston Villa, but they haven’t dealt at all well with the bread and butter of league business thus far.

They are now winless after two matches, kept off the bottom only by St Johnstone. League duty takes a break next week for cup action, but when the Premiership returns there are hugely testing fixtures away at Aberdeen and Kilmarnock – either side of hosting Livingston – which are already taking on real significance.

Hibs showed against Luzern that they can be an exciting, attacking outfit when they hit their stride, but finding consistency is going to be the real key this season.