Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson praised Bevis Mugabi for bouncing back from his Europa League red card by scoring his first goal for the club in a 3-0 win at Aberdeen.
The defender headed home Motherwell’s third goal midway through the first half having already won a fourth-minute penalty, which Mark O’Hara converted.
The centre-back was judged to have denied Coleraine an obvious goalscoring opportunity on Thursday but Motherwell came through the tie and built on their success at Pittodrie.
Robinson said: “Bevis has been superb since he came into the team. On the ball we’ve worked on simplifying his game and, credit to the big man, he’s taken that on board.
“All three at the back were excellent and he’s got what he deserved. I didn’t think it was a sending-off or a penalty the other night and he’s reacted superbly, as I expected.”
Motherwell began the weekend bottom of the Scottish Premiership but they looked a confident side after their flying start – Christopher Long scored their second in the eighth minute after being gifted a chance by Joe Lewis’s poor clearance.
“We’ve only lost once in five, against Celtic, and the confidence had been building,” Robinson said.
“The difference between that and earlier in the season was we were clinical and took those chances.
“Then when we went two and three up we were so disciplined defensively.
“We let them have the ball, we have changed it a bit where we let teams have the ball and try to hit teams on the counter rather than force play all the time, and it’s worked well over the last five games.”
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes admitted his side were second best all over the park.
“The first goal Motherwell kept it alive and then get the penalty kick when it hit Marley’s (Watkins) hand. There wasn’t a lot Marley could do so there was a bit of misfortune about that part of it,” he said.
“The second goal was an uncharacteristic mistake from big Joe.
“The third goal was offside but it was neither here nor there to the result, but the referee and assistant have to be better. Long is blocking Joe’s view and is backing into him and Joe saves that header if Long’s not there.
“For 15 minutes we played in the gear we needed to and we got in behind a bit and won more tackles. But when we didn’t get the goal the heads went down and it just played out.
“The better players were in Motherwell shirts right throughout. When that happens and you make uncharacteristic mistakes the outcome is normally a sore one.”