Motherwell 3 Aberdeen 0: McCormack boosts McGhee's standing

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The Independent Online

Unlike England, Scotland's search for a new manager is unlikely to extend beyond the Alps. It may go no further than here, as Mark McGhee continues to climb to the top of the list of contenders by plotting Motherwell's remarkable ascent.

The man endorsed by Alex McLeish to become his successor underlined his soaring stock with a ruthless destruction of Aberdeen that keeps Motherwell third in the Scottish Premier League and has their fans dreaming of Europe next season.

McGhee has transformed a team that were almost relegated last May in his six months at the Lanarkshire club, with a brand of stylish, attacking football. However, the former Wolves and Reading manager could soon be poached by the Scottish FA.

Ironically, the side to suffer, as Motherwell pushed their unbeaten run to six games, was McGhee's old club Aberdeen. The visitors had one eye on a vital Uefa Cup group match with FC Copenhagen on Thursday, but the attack-minded McGhee who was part of Alex Ferguson's side that shocked Real Madrid to win the Cup Winners' Cup in 1983 showed no mercy.

Motherwell's most potent source was Ross McCormack. McGhee has already been contacted by several Championship sides who want to bring the little striker to England and his first-half double illustrated why. He put Motherwell in front after just eight minutes from the penalty spot after Stephen Hughes was fouled by Richie Byrne.

Just four minutes later, Motherwell doubled their lead. Paul Quinn, the right-back, was involved again, gathering McCormack's lay-off on the right before crossing for Steven McGarry to head beyond Jamie Langfield.

Aberdeen were stunned. They almost found a foothold in the contest when Lee Miller was denied by Graeme Smith, diving bravely at his feet. However, had Chris Porter's lunge finished off more trickery from McCormack, the margin would have grown.

McCormack, though, would not be denied. In first-half stoppage time, he raced away on to a measured pass from Hughes, rounded Langfield and fired an angled finish into the net for Motherwell's third.

Not surprisingly, Aberdeen's response in the second half was a frenetic bid to salvage some pride. Sone Aluko drew a fine save from Smith with a free-kick while Zander Diamond missed an open goal from five yards 16 minutes from the end.

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