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Page last updated at 18:28 GMT, Saturday, 15 August 2009 19:28 UK

I axed duo to save game - Gannon

Stephen Craigan challenges St Johnstone's Jody Morris
Craigan (left) only played the first half against St Johnstone

Motherwell manager Jim Gannon said he axed captain Stephen Craigan and striker John Sutton to inject more energy in their draw with St Johnstone.

"I didn't need to make the changes, but as a manager you are paid to make decisions," Gannon told BBC Scotland.

"We needed much more energy, we needed much more enthusiasm.

"We needed players who were going to take more responsibility to pass the ball properly and attack with a bit of what we call slick and quick."

Gannon previously criticised veteran defender Craigan after the opening match of the season ended with an embarrassing 1-0 defeat at home by Welsh side Llanelli.

Craigan subsequently expressed his disappointment that Gannon, who succeeded Mark McGhee in the summer, had gone public with his remarks.

After today, I am excited about the future and what can be achieved here

Motherwell manager Jim Gannon

The Northern Ireland defender subsequently held clear-the-air talks with the manager but will have been disappointed to be substituted at half-time during Saturday's 2-2 draw.

Gannon thought that his switch - bringing on Robert McHugh and Chris Humphrey - had the desired affect in the second half.

"It was exciting to watch and, after today's game, I am excited about what we can achieve here," he said.

"We had two fantastic chances when it was 2-2, but there were some worrying moments as well and I am just pleased with our performance in the second half."

Motherwell twice came back from behind through goals from youngsters Shaun Hutchinson and Ross Forbes.

Gannon had inherited a squad that had lost a number of experienced players but was delighted with the response of those who remained.

"Somebody said that the average age of the team at the start of the game was 20 and, after half time, it must have been significantly lower," he said.

"The SPL should be all about exciting football and young players learning their trade and become budding internationals and we saw that today.

"After today, I am excited about the future and what can be achieved here."

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see also
St Johnstone 2-2 Motherwell
15 Aug 09 |  Scottish Premier
Craigan responds to critic Gannon
04 Jul 09 |  Motherwell

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