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Page last updated at 21:09 GMT, Saturday, 22 January 2011

Motherwell manager McCall pleased with first SPL win

Kenny Black and Stuart McCall
McCall (right) speaks to recently-appointed assistant Kenny Black

Motherwell manager Stuart McCall praised his players after they "rose to the occasion" to beat Hibernian.

The win, McCall's first Scottish Premier League victory as Well boss, ended their search for a league win that stretched back to November.

"It was a battling performance," McCall told BBC Scotland.

"It wasn't the greatest game but there's a lot of ways to win a game and when you get ahead, you've just got to dig it out. That's what we did today."

McCall's had experienced a cup win with his new team prior to Hibernian's visit but the former Scotland international broke his SPL duck after Jamie Murphy and Steven Saunders headed goals from Steven Hammell's set pieces.

Hibs' Merouane Zemmama missed a penalty ensuring the hosts kept a clean sheet.

"It was a tough game, it wasn't a classic by any means but we got two goals with set pieces, two great deliveries," said McCall.

"We were fortunate; Hibs missed a penalty just before half-time.

"Our desire and determination to keep a clean sheet was excellent, that's four in five games.

"We've had a lot of young boys out there. Tom Hateley had to come off injured, Jennings has played with an injury.

"People talk about Hibs' poor form but we've not won a game in the SPL for 10 weeks. So there was pressure on the boys and they rose to the occasion.

"We were a little bit nervy at times but, apart from the penalty miss, the goalkeeper's not had a lot to do and they defended well in front of him."

Of the injuries, McCall was optimistic.

Hopefully we'll have one or two fresh faces in before the window closes

Stuart McCall

"It's hopefully just a kick on the calf," he said of Hateley. "Sometimes it can be ok in two or three days, sometimes it might take seven days so we'll wait and see.

"Jennings has got a dead leg but he's a battler and he'll get through it.

"There's a knocks and bruises but they don't seem to hurt as much when you come off with three points."

Loan signing from Walsall Steve Jones made his debut but Motherwell were foiled in their attempt to sign Leeds United striker Mike Grella by Fifa's cross-border rules.

"He (Jones) flitted in and out at times," said McCall. "Obviously he just joined us yesterday. He did well in spells and hopefully once he integrates with the players more, he'll get better.

"We thought we had the Grella situation tied up so then we were only really looking for a left centre-back/left-back because we've got no cover in the left-back area.

"We're not going to loan anyone from Scotland so it's got to be from England and with all these fancy rules that they keep bringing out it's really disappointing that we haven't been able to bring Mike Grella.

"He can go down to England and play for another side but unfortunately he can't come to Scotland and play and I think it's a pretty stupid rule if I've got to be honest. It's just stopping the kid coming and playing.

"We'll have to look elsewhere now and hopefully have one or two fresh faces in before the window closes.

"We'll maybe look up top."

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see also
Motherwell 2-0 Hibernian
22 Jan 11 |  Scottish Premier
Grella's Well move falls through
21 Jan 11 |  Motherwell
Walsall's Jones joins Motherwell
20 Jan 11 |  Motherwell

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