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Sport Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson offers blunt assessment of Coleraine pitch

14:45  18 september  2020
14:45  18 september  2020 Source:   belfastlive.co.uk

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Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson believes Coleraine should consider investing their European windfall on a new pitch.

Robinson was less than impressed by the Showgrounds turf in Thursday night’s Europa League penalty shootout win over the Bannsiders.

And the Fir Park boss says a new surface should be top of the Coleraine board’s agenda moving forward.

“The pitch is barely classed as a football pitch and I think Coleraine would agree with me,” said Robinson.

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“They deserve better than that for the players they have, the manager they have and the board they have.

“I think both sets of players would have preferred a better pitch, because that surface doesn't put the Irish League in a good light.

“Both Coleraine and ourselves think the same. I hope the council and people back them to get a proper pitch down.”

a group of baseball players playing a football game: Coleraine manager Oran Kearney with Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson © Inpho Coleraine manager Oran Kearney with Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson

Coleraine released stadium redevelopment plans - including the installation of a new 4G pitch at an estimated cost of £450,000 to £480,000 - last November.

But it is understood the project has been delayed until the summer of 2021 because of the impact of coronavirus on planning.

Coleraine will pocket €720,000 for progressing through two rounds of the Europa League and boss Oran Keaney says the money will be invested wisely.

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He said: “All the joy comes from the buzz of progressing through ties, but from a financial point of view for a club of our size, it’s obviously really important.

“In the past historically we’ve made lots of good changes like a new club shop or a new VIP bar and we’ve tried to be very smart on how we go about it.

“This time will be no different. There’s probably a big possibility we’ll maybe try and do something out there (pitch) which would have a huge impact on the club.”

Asked to confirm he meant the installation of a “new pitch”, Kearney replied: “Possibly.”

Motherwell boss Robinson said Kearney should be “very proud” of his players who gave the SPFL club the scare of their lives on the Ballycastle Road.

A brace of second-half Ben Doherty penalties cancelled out Callum Lang and Tony Watt’s first half openers for the Steelmen who lost Bevis Mugabi to an 89th minute red card.

But just as a major shock looked on the cards, Motherwell held their nerve in extra-time and the penalty shootout to progress to the third qualifying round.

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Stephen Robinson says he has no doubt his Motherwell players will avoid complacency against St Mirren. The Steelmen travel to Paisley on Wednesday night on the back of four straight league wins, but the manager says doing the simple things first will always be the team’s priority.

Northern Ireland goalkeeper Trevor Carson was the hero of the hour, saving three spot kicks from Ian Parkhill, Lyndon Kane and Gareth McConaghie.

“It was a very difficult night,” said Robinson. “We were 2-0 up and comfortable, but you have to credit Coleraine. They made our night very difficult and there was nothing in it in the end.

“I have to credit our lads as well, especially after going down to 10 men. Whatever way you look at it we're in the next round of Europe and no-one will ever look at how you got there.

“But I certainly have to give a lot of credit to Coleraine and Oran should be very proud of his team for the character and fight the boys gave him.

“Surely now people can see how much Northern Ireland football is on the map again and maybe the council and people can invest in this club, because they deserve it.”


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