Kyle Lafferty’s 16th goal of the season was not enough to prevent Hearts being eliminated from the Scottish Cup by Motherwell who won the all-Premiership quarter-final tie 2-1 at Fir Park yesterday.
The 30-year-old, who missed a penalty against Kilmarnock in midweek, confidently converted a 51st minute spot kick to level the contest despite manager Craig Levein stating that he had instructed Steven Naismith to take over penalty duties.
“Kyle wasn’t supposed to be on the penalties,” confirmed the Hearts boss. “You know what he’s like!
“Steven Naismith was supposed to take them. But Kyle was very confident in the way he took it though and it was a good penalty.”
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson was proud of his players' performance in reaching the last four of the competition thanks to a wonder strike from skipper Carl McHugh.
Robinson said: “We didn’t give Hearts a minute to settle and that probably epitomises the team and the desire amongst the boys to get to the next round of this cup.
“I don’t think Carl will ever hit a shot like that with his right foot ever again, but it was a fantastic goal that deserved to win any match.”
The semi-final draw has paired Motherwell with either Aberdeen or Kilmarnock who played out a 1-1 draw at Pittodrie on Saturday.
In League One in-form Will Grigg insists he scored his 17th goal of the season after Michael Jacobs’s shot took the slightest of deflections off his knee in Wigan Athletic’s 2-2 draw with Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park yesterday.
After going 2-0 down inside 17 minutes the Latics pulled a goal back after the hour mark through Jacobs who is adamant he clocked up his ninth of the season.
“I was just happy that the ball hit the net,” said Jacobs, “it was a great time for us to score having been 2-0 down. It’s another one for me, I am really happy with it.
“Definitely my goal - a great strike!”
However, Grigg jokingly disagreed with his team-mate. “Rules are rules, I have touched it unfortunately for the big man – but I’m happy for him to take it if that’s how it works out.
“Like he said, the goal came at a great time and we were really pleased.
“It was a massive point for us; they scored with their first attack and it was a big blow for us -we didn't get going until after half-time.”
Meanwhile, in the Premier League bottom of the table West Bromwich Albion suffered a fifth straight league defeat after losing 1-0 at Watford.
The Baggies, who recalled Chris Brunt to the starting line-up at Vicarage Road, are now eight points from safety, but with just nine games remaining captain Jonny Evans is adamant they can still pull off a miracle and survive the drop.
“The most important thing for us is that we still believe,” said Evans. ”We’re working hard, you could see that.
“We had a lot of meetings in the week about how to be more secure behind the ball, stop teams breaking on us as much.
“But when you're pushing to win the game, things become a bit more stretched. Gaps start to appear and they got the goal.
“It’s difficult to take,” he added. “At half-time we were pretty pleased with certain aspects of our performance.
“I really felt like we could go out and win the game in the second half. But once they got the goal we found it difficult. They defended well to keep the clean sheet.