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All’s well that ends well even if you have to win ugly – Declan Gallagher

Colraine v Motherwell – UEFA Europa League – Second Qualifying Round – Colraine Football Club
(Image credit: Brian Lawless)

Motherwell skipper Declan Gallagher believes winning ugly is underrated.

Well secured their first Sottish Premiership win of the season last weekend by grinding out a 1-0 win over St Johnstone thanks to Allan Campbell’s early goal.

And they beat Coleraine the hard way in the Europa League on Thursday after letting slip a two-goal lead.

But Gallagher feels the confidence they will take from their penalty shoot-out win will be significant.

Well went down to 10 men when Bevis Mugabi was sent off in the 90th minute after conceding Coleraine’s second penalty but goalkeeper Trevor Carson’s heroics earned a trip to Israel to take on Hapoel Beer-Sheva.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s clash at Aberdeen, Gallagher said: “I have seen a lot of people say our performance was poor. The first half we dominated the game and should have probably been out of sight. But they got two soft penalty claims and that would change any game regardless of the opposition and the standard of the pitch.

“To go down to 10 men and show the character we did, I think we deserve a wee bit more respect for how we got through that game in the end.

“It’s a knockout competition and all that matters is you get through to the next round. Performances don’t matter if you win the game.

“The performance might but not have been pretty in the second half but you have to win the game ugly sometimes, there’s no doubt about that.

“We were having 65 to 70 per cent possession in most games this season but the last two games we have won we have probably had 40 per cent possession. It shows you that winning ugly is just as good as winning pretty.

“The last two games we have shown we can be diverse, we can go route one, we can do the ugly side of the game.

“I’m delighted we have proven we are not a soft touch, we are battling for everything.”

Gallagher claimed the shootout win – Motherwell’s first since 1999 – was a result of their confidence, nerve and determination.

“Just before penalties, we had a wee huddle together and we knew we were going to come out winners, the way we were all speaking and the confidence the boys had to go up and hit their penalties,” the Scotland defender said.

“There was not one bit of nervousness and the boys knew that with Trevor in goal and the lads taking penalties, we knew we were going to come out of it with the victory.

“And I think we deserved it. A lot of people said, ‘it’s a part-time team’ but it’s a cup final for them, it’s Europa League, it’s big for their club, it’s big for our club.

“A lot of people need to remember we are Motherwell, we are not Celtic or Rangers, we have no right to dominate any game. First half we did dominate but two soft penalties changed that game. But we showed the character.”

On Sunday’s game against their fellow Europa League competitors, Gallagher said: “Aberdeen had another good result, away in Norway. Viking are a very, very good team and they got another 2-0 victory and they have been going strong in the league. We know how hard it was last year against them so we are under no illusions.

“It will maybe do us a wee favour that we have both come back from European football, so there’s going to be a few knocks and bruises in both camps, but we will be ready for the game.”