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Motherwell were ‘a little bit naive’ in Europa League loss – Stephen Robinson

Celtic v Motherwell – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson admitted inexperience at European level proved crucial as his 10 men went down to a 3-0 defeat against Hapoel Beer-Sheva despite edging much of the first half.

Christopher Long forced a great save as Motherwell started well in Israel but Stephen O’Donnell lost Miguel Vitor at a 43rd-minute free-kick and the Portuguese defender headed home.

Motherwell remained well in the Europa League third qualifying round tie but it went away from them when Declan Gallagher was booked twice in 60 seconds with 20 minutes remaining, the second for a foul in the penalty box.

Hapoel playmaker Josue netted from the spot and the home side capitalised on their man advantage.

Robinson said: “We had so much of the game, we were so disciplined and organised and had chances.

“Their goalkeeper makes a super save from Longy at 0-0, Declan should hit the target from a great chance from a header. Tony Watt has a chance just before they score. I thought we did ever so well at times.

“At this level conceding through set-plays is so frustrating. People didn’t do what we asked them to do at the first one and the second one is a penalty.

“Really frustrating because we are not in same hemisphere as these people financially but we matched them for long periods.”

Hapoel had five players booked to Motherwell’s four yellow cards in a tousy encounter and home defender Loai Taha was perhaps unfortunate not to see red for charging at Watt off the ball. Both players were booked after the resulting collision.

“What you don’t get at domestic football is this experience, how to win games, how to play referees, how to go down extremely easily,” Robinson said. “Unfortunately we were a little bit naive.

“Overall I am pleased with the young players in the team and lots of lessons to be learned.

“Our boys are so honest at times, they stand up and take kicks.

“And maybe managing the game, with three minutes left in the first half, people swapped over markers when they shouldn’t have done. But individuals make mistakes and when you play against the quality they have in their delivery, we got punished.”