Ross County v Motherwell: The Steelmen’s opening day record examined

The Steelmen started with a victory in the inaugural SPFL campaign as Henri Anier popped up to net a late winner at Easter Road.
An 82nd minute effort from the Estonian striker, who climbed off the bench to replace Bob McHugh, set Stuart McCall’s side on the road to a memorable campaign that saw them finish runners-up to Celtic for the second consecutive season.
Final league position: 2nd
Motherwell 1 St Mirren 0
Lee Erwin was the hero on the opening day in 2014 as Motherwell started with another narrow victory.
Erwin scored from a rebound in the 64th minute after Motherwell goalkeeper Dan Twardzik had produced a string of saves to keep the Buddies at bay.
St Mirren’s day went from bad to worse when Jim Goodwin saw red for a second bookable offence.
It would be a season to forget for the Steelmen, though, as Stuart McCall resigned as gaffer after a disappointing start to the campaign. Kenny Black took temporary charge before Ian Baraclough was appointed.
Baraclough kept them in the Premiership by sinking Rangers – then managed by McCall – in the Premiership play-off final, winning 6-1 on aggregate.
Final league position: 11th
Inverness Caley Thistle 0 Motherwell 1
Clearly the Steelmen love to scrape a win on opening day.
A trip to the Highlands ended in a third consecutive 1-0 start to SPFL season, with a fourth minute opener from Wes Fletcher (remember him?)enough to sink Inverness.
It would prove to be Fletcher’s first and only goal in claret and amber.
Motherwell would go on to seal a top six finish under Mark McGhee, following Baraclough’s exit a month into the season.
Final league position: 5th
Kilmarnock 1 Motherwell 2
Lionel Ainsowrth and Marvin Johnson netted to get Motherwell off to a flier in Ayrshire.
Killie sub Martin Smith pulled a goal back after Ainsworth opened the scoring after 41 minutes and Johnson grabbed what proved to be the winner just moments into the second half.
However, a mediocre campaign would see McGhee handed his P45 in February that season.
The Steelmen picked up just 10 wins and finished in the bottom six, as Stephen Robinson was brought in to start the rebuilding job.

Final league position: 9th
Motherwell 1 Rangers 2
A Graham Dorrans double inflicted Motherwell’s first opening defeat in the SPFL in August 2017 as Rangers made their return to the top flight.
The Rangers midfielder netted inside four minutes and then from the penalty spot midway through the second half after Ben Heneghan had pulled the hosts level.
Stephen Robinson’s men would miss out on a top six finish.
Final league position: 7th
Hibernian 3 Motherwell 0
It was an opening day to forget in the capital back in August 2018.
Motherwell never got going and the Hibees sealed the game with a 21-minute scoring spree.
Stevie Mallan broke the deadlock after half an hour and Oli Shaw’s strike on the stroke of half-time was followed up by a Martin Boyle effort in 51 minutes.
A disappointing campaign followed for Robinson’s side with another bottom six finish.
Final league position: 8th
Livingston 0 Motherwell 0
Motherwell made a sticky start to last season with an opening day stalemate at Livingston, but it would ultimately prove to be one of their best seasons in recent years.
Declan Gallagher proved a shrewd summer signing from the Lions and kept a clean sheet against his former side on his old stomping ground.
Motherwell went on to win 14 games in a campaign curtailed by coronavirus, but they did enough to secure Europa League football before the shutdown was decided on average points.
Final league position: 3rd
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