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Gillespie gets the point for Motherwell
Goalkeeper catches the eye with impressive show to deny Livingston.
Motherwell goalkeeper Mark Gillespie shone at the Tony Macaroni Arena as the Steelmen kicked off their Ladbrokes Premiership campaign with a 0-0 draw against Livingston.
The Lions enjoyed the better opportunities during an attritional affair in West Lothian but found the former Carlisle number one in inspired form between the sticks for the visitors.
Gillespie, 27, made brilliant blocks to deny Aymen Souda, Scott Pittman and, in particular, Nicky Devlin to ensure a point for his team.
Motherwell will ruefully reflect on a wonderful fingertip save by Ross Stewart from Jake Carroll and a decent late chance which was passed up by Declan Gallagher – however, they struggled to impose themselves against Gary Holt’s side.
Precocious Well midfielder David Turnbull, subject of a protracted transfer chase by Celtic before a knee injury forced him to undergo surgery, was afforded a raucous welcome from the travelling supporters ahead of kick-off as he walked pitchside.
When the action started, it took until the 32nd minute for either side to threaten, with Livi stalwart Keaghan Jacobs fizzing a speculative low drive wide of the post from 25 yards.
Stewart justified his selection ahead of Matija Sarkic when the Lions custodian made a sensational one-handed save to deny Well left-back Jake Carroll following a slick through-pass from Jermaine Hylton.
Summer signing Souda almost notched an impressive goal with an acrobatic overhead kick from the edge of the box, only for Gillespie to parry wide.
Robinson’s charges were being forced to weather a storm as half-time approached and Gillespie made another super stop from Pittman after the combative midfielder had surged through the ‘Well rearguard.
Souda rippled the side-netting and Alan Lithgow stung the palms of Gillespie with a free-kick from distance as the hosts continued to look the more likely side to break the deadlock following the interval.
Star man Gillespie made sure Well would return to North Lanarkshire with a point by making an excellent near-post save from Nicky Devlin, denying the defender from point-blank range.
With just three minutes of the 90 left to play, Gallagher almost came back to haunt his old club but could only direct his header over the bar after rising highest to meet an inswinging corner.