First Team

Sickbed couldn't stop Smith

19th August 2019

Michael Smith climbed out of his sick bed on Friday night to leave Motherwell feeling ill.

The Northern Ireland defender opened the scoring at Fir Park with one of his customary spectacular strikes, cutting inside to the edge of the box before slamming an unstoppable left-foot effort beyond Mark Gillespie.

Conor Washington added a second from the spot before Christopher Long halved the deficit with half an hour remaining.

The Jambos saw out the remainder of the match to record a thoroughly deserved Betfred Cup victory and book their quarter-final spot, where they will face Aberdeen at Tynecastle next month.

Smith admits tiredness could’ve been a big problem given he was diagnosed with tonsillitis during the build up to the game, but he was delighted to get through the match, score and give something back to the Hearts supporters.

“It was good to go out at Motherwell, play some nice football and get into the quarter-finals,” he said. “It certainly makes you forget about being a wee bit ill.

“I woke up on Friday morning feeling not so great, a bit of tonsillitis, but nothing that a few painkillers couldn’t sort.

“If anything I was just a bit lethargic on the night, so I’m glad to have got through it and even happier to have scored.

“At the goal I just came inside onto my left foot, shut my eyes and hit it. I don’t get many, but when I do they generally turn out to be half-decent!

“We owed a lot of people that performance - fans, staff, even ourselves because we just hadn’t been good enough at the weekend (against Ross County).

“We felt embarrassed and we had a few choice words among ourselves afterwards.

“These things happen at football clubs and sometimes they’re not a bad thing.

“It causes a reaction from people and when you see that reaction in a performance like this you see we’ll be a match for anyone on our day.

“We’ve brought in some real quality players from quality leagues and once they settle and we get a few injured lads back, we’ll have a real good squad.”