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Smith keeps Motherwell in contention

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Graeme Smith revealed his instincts served him well as he pulled off a brilliant penalty save to keep alive Motherwell's hopes of making the UEFA Cup group stages.

Smith made several impressive second-half stops in the first leg of Motherwell's first round tie in the Stade Marcel Picot to restrict Nancy to a 1-0 advantage.

"Colin Meldrum told me about their original penalty-taker, but three weeks ago I decided that at my next penalty, I was going to dive to my right," Smith said. "Melly gave me the heads-up about their guy but it turned out to be another guy anyway."

Smith produced a string of other fine saves after Pascal Berenguer's 42nd-minute header found the bottom corner, including a one-handed stop to push the goalscorer's 30-yard strike on to the crossbar.

"It's great for the club, we are still in it," he added.

Well manager Mark McGhee also feels his team are firmly in the tie despite admitting they failed to perform as an attacking force.

The visitors struggled to support lone striker John Sutton and did not carve out clear chances even after moving to a 4-4-2 formation with the introduction of Chris Porter and Darren Smith midway through the second half.

McGhee feels they will have a good chance if they play to their normal standards at Fir Park - despite claiming before the first leg they would need a draw to have real hope of progressing.

"You ask me these questions, and at the time I have got to give an answer that reflects some sort of modesty," McGhee said.

"We didn't play terribly well in terms of attacking. We can do a lot better than that. I don't think we will surprise them, they will do their homework. They will know what we can do in that respect, but I think we can beat them."

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Topics:
European News
Football
John Sutton
Chris Porter
Graeme Smith (Footballer)

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