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    Murphy gives U21s hope

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    Dundee Utd Ticket Information

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    SPL Adrenalyn XL

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    Page nets Co-operative award

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    Mitre launch new TENSILE microsite

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    Club statement

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    Saunders deflated by groin injury

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    Practice makes perfect for Hateley

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    Brown pleased with three points

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    St Mirren win in pictures

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    Murphy gives U21s hope

    Jamie Murphy scored a vital away goal as Scotland narrowly lost to Iceland in the UEFA Under-21 Championship play-off last night.

    The Motherwell striker, who has been in sensational form this season, put Scotland ahead but Iceland were not to be outdone at their National Stadium and fought back to take a lead into Monday night’s tie at Easter Road.

    Scotland started by defending deep, looking to use the pace of Maguire and Murphy to hit on the break.

    Aston Villa’s Barry Bannan looked lively from the off showing his class with trickery and quick feet, however Scotland failed to capitalise from a number of early set-piece opportunities.

    On 10 minutes Iceland’s Birkir Bjarnason showed great strength to hold off a heavy challenge from Scobbie in the wide right area but Caddis defended brilliantly under pressure at the back post to knock the resultant cross behind.

    Former Steelmen keeper Alan Martin pulled off three outstanding saves in quick succession when Birkir Bjarnason crossed a low ball which Sigthórsson, Sigurdsson and Gudmundsson all had had a go at finishing off during a frantic goalmouth scramble, but the Barrow keeper was equal to them all.

    Scotland then made Iceland pay for their missed chance by grabbing a fantastic away goal through Jamie Murphy. A dangerous ball over the top was collected by Murphy as the right back slipped and from 15 yards he smashed the ball past the helpless keeper.

    With Scotland galvanised by their early lead, Murphy was again at the centre of a promising Scotland attack.

    He drove across the face of the defence and was upended 25-yards out. The referee brandished a yellow card to Eyjólfsson.

    The set-piece was imaginative and very nearly put Scotland further ahead. Bannan ran over the settled ball, Maguire shaped to shoot then cleverly slipped in Bannan down the left flank but Wotherspoon’s run was flagged offside.

    The equaliser came on 34 minutes through a strike just as fine as Murphy’s at the other end. Bjarnason outstripped the defence and with his delivery only half cleared Gudmundsson half-volleyed a sweet strike from outside the box.

    Maguire hit the side netting after working his way in from the right and aiming his low left foot drive at the bottom corner but the sides remained level at the break.

    Billy Stark shuffled his pack at the start of the second half replacing Wotherspoon with David Goodwillie who went straight up top. Barry Bannan switched to the right and Jamie Murphy stepped back into a wide left position.

    Arfield hit the target on 60 minutes with a snap-shot after Bannan’s lay-off bounced awkwardly but Petursson held comfortably.

    Within minutes of taking to the field substitute Ormarsson broke Scotland’s resolve and secured a home win for Iceland. He shifted the ball onto his right foot and unleashed a 25-yard screamer.

    The goal sparked Scotland into life as they looked to equalise. Some sharper play around the box led to a scything challenge on Maguire but from 20 yards the Aberdeen man struck the wall.

    Substitute David Templeton also worked himself some space on the left but his effort went wide.

    Scotland will be without the suspended Scott Arfield for the second leg at Easter Road on Monday but a bumper crowd will ensure a grandstand finale to the tie.

    [Reports courtesy of SFA website]

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    Dundee Utd Ticket Information

    The club can today confirm prices ahead of the Co-operative Insurance Cup quarter-final clash with Dundee Utd on Tuesday 26th October.

    Tickets will be available on the gate with admission prices (all stands) as follows:

    • Adults: £15
    • Concessions: £10*

    *Concessions are listed as Under 16’s, Over 60’s and Full Time Students with a valid matriculation card.

    Season Tickets will be valid for this match using the “Special Cup” voucher in the middle of the book.

    Fans are also reminded that tickets for the Rangers game, due to take place at Ibrox on Saturday October 16th, are currently on sale from the Fir Park Ticket Office.

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    SPL Adrenalyn XL

    Panini are proud to announce The official trading card game of The Scottish Premier League, SPL Adrenalyn XL!

    This season we bring you the official trading card collection devoted the Scottish Premier League’s talent. There are 288 cards to collect, with plenty of special cards inside. Look out for…

    • 216 standard player cards
    • 12 super foil Club Captains
    • 12 super foil Shot Stoppers
    • 24 glitter foil Star Players
    • 12 glitter foil Fan’s Favourites

    Plus new this season, 12 gold foil Top Scorer cards!

    Starter Pack: For a RRP of £4.99 collectors will get a game board, rules sheet, a collector’s binder and 18 game cards presented in an awesome pack set.

    For more information, go to: www.paniniadrenalyn.com
    Starter Pack: £4.99

    Trading card packet (featuring 6 cards) : 60p

    The SPL Adrenalyn XL Card Game collection is available through all good newsagents now!

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    Page nets Co-operative award

    Jonathan Page has been named Co-opererative Insurance Cup Young Player of Round Three following his double against Brechin City.

    The 20-year-old scored both goals in the 2-0 win at Glebe Park last month to help Motherwell through to the quarter-finals.

    Page has had to be patient for a chance in the team, with the form of both Stephen Craigan and Mark Reynolds restricting him to the substitute’s bench.

    To his credit, he is philosophical about his position and knows he is being kept out by two players at the top of their game.

    “Both Stephen Craigan and Mark Reynolds are playing brilliantly at the minute and there’s not too much I can do about that,” he said.

    “However, it’s brilliant to learn from them and both are excellent role-models for any young player. I just need to keep plugging away, continue to be patient and when I get my chance, take it with both hands.”

    Page was thankful to the sponsors, Co-operative Insurance, for his award and hopes it won’t be the last of his fledgling career.

    He said: “It’s great to win the award and obviously I am delighted to have scored the goals that got us to the next round.

    “This is the first individual award I’ve won but hopefully it won’t be the last. We’ve got Dundee United at home in the next round of the Cup and if I get my chance, I hope to have the same impact as I did against Brechin.”

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    Mitre launch new TENSILE microsite

    Mitre are giving fans of all 72 Football League and 12 SPL Clubs the chance to win a limited edition Mitre TENSILE football.

    They have recently launched a new Microsite dedicated to the Mitre TENSILE – the official football of the Football League and SPL for the 2010/11 season. 

    The TENSILE is a revolution in football design and technology, comprised of just 10 panels and with over 30% less stitching – optimising power and efficiency, improving airflow and reducing drag.

    The TENSILE’s graphic design is completely unique; with each of the 72 Football League clubs and 12 SPL Clubs having their own TENSILE matchballs printed in club colours and with their club badge – and now fans of each club can get their hands on a limited edition ball from their team by visiting www.whateveryourcolours.com from Wednesday 29th September 2010.

    As well as offering fans the chance to win their club balls, the site includes a background on the unique TENSILE technology, links to see what the players and clubs think of the new ball, along with access to the Mitre Facebook and Twitter feeds.

    Nicki Lesirge, Marketing Manager for Mitre, commented, “We’re delighted to announce the launch of the TENSILE Microsite.

    “The ball is a revolution in football technology and we’ve already had fantastic feedback from both players and managers.

    “We wanted to give something back to the fans by giving away the club balls, and we hope they’ll continue to engage with their clubs through the Microsite”.

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    Club statement

    The club are today pleased to announce the appointment of Derek Weir as Vice Chairman with direct responsibility for finance.

    In addition, Chairman John Boyle has sold a block of shares to Derek, although Mr Boyle continues to hold a controlling interest in the club.

    Commenting, Chairman John Boyle said: “Derek joined the Board two years ago and his increased involvement will greatly assist the club in these challenging times for Scottish football clubs.  He is a lifelong Motherwell supporter and bought his first season ticket 35 years ago.

    “In his commercial life he has held many senior finance roles, in the UK and overseas, latterly as Head of Barclays Corporate in Scotland and Ireland.  He now holds a number of non-executive roles which will allow him to devote some time to his new role at Motherwell, in particular the ongoing requirement to secure additional sources of finance for the club.”

    Derek will work closely with Leeann Dempster, who was appointed to the role of Chief Executive last year.  Her appointment has been an outstanding success and the club is now extremely well served with a combination of existing and new directors overseeing segments of the club’s activities such as communications, finance, safety & stadium and supporter relations.

    The club will shortly announce a profit for last year and, although modest, will be the sixth profit in the last seven years.

    As a club, Motherwell have punched significantly above their weight having had three consecutive years in Europe.  However the Board recognises that we operate in a difficult environment and is very focused on the need to balance the books whilst remaining competitive on the park.

    Derek Weir added: “As a fan, I regard the opportunity to work with the club as a privilege. As Directors we are only ever part of a longer story. Motherwell has played a very positive role in the history of the game and it is our role to ensure that continues.

    “It is not always obvious to the fans but John Boyle has personally supported the club to a massive extent and continues to do so. That cannot continue forever, nor should it. Our income must exceed our costs if we are to secure the club for the future.

    “Our collective focus will be on ensuring fans come first in all that we do at the club. We have a superb core base of support and we are focused on increasing that by positioning the club as a true family club at the heart of the community. We have high hopes that the business side of the club can match the success being achieved by Craig, his management team and the players on the field.

    “I look forward to working alongside John, my fellow Directors and everyone involved with the club and I urge every Motherwell fan to play what part they feel they can. It’s a good time to be at Motherwell and I’m excited about the future.”

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    Saunders deflated by groin injury

    Steven Saunders admits he is devastated at missing Scotland’s crucial U21 play-off match with Iceland following a groin injury sustained against St Mirren.

    The young defender, who is enjoying a terrific run in the team, fell awkwardly ten minutes into the second-half of the 3-1 win at Fir Park and had to be replaced by Stevie Hammell.

    Initials fears were that Saunders would miss the International double-header and those were realised after he was withdrawn from the squad following an examination by SFA doctors.

    Speaking exclusively to motherwellfc.co.uk, Saunders said: “I’ve been fortunate since I’ve came to Motherwell that I’ve pretty much remained injury free so to get injured now and miss the Scotland game is a massive disappointment.

    “I think it’s the first time in something like 15 years that the team have a real chance of qualifying and I can’t play which I am gutted about.

    “Hopefully the boys will do the business and I get the opportunity to play in the tournament next summer. It’ll be a tough game, that’s for sure.

    “I know from playing the Icelandic U19s side just how good they are and, of course, Breidablik had six or seven U21 players in their side and we know how tough they were to breakdown.”

    It looked a rather innocuous incident at the time but it was clear moments later that the youngster had hurt himself.

    Saunders explained what happened; “I went in for the tackle and, to be honest, I probably didn’t have to.

    “That’s maybe a wee bit of inexperience on my part. I lost my footing and my legs went away from me and I felt my groin straight away. I tried to stand up but couldn’t so had to signal to the bench.

    “In terms of when I’ll be back; I’m not putting a date on things but I want to get back to fitness as quickly as possible. I’ll be working with John (Porteous) almost every day and hopefully I won’t miss many games.

    “The important thing for me is that I return as quickly as possible but not too early where I’m not ready and make things worse.”

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    Practice makes perfect for Hateley

    Tom Hateley admitted he was more than happy to step up to the spot and take Motherwell’s late penalty against St Mirren.

    The midfielder scored in the 87th minute to put ‘Well back in front after Alan Gow was brought down in the box by Lee Mair.

    And he says was always confident of finding the back of the net due to the many hours of practice put in on the training ground.

    “I was aware at some point I would have to step up and take an important penalty, although a last minute one to get a win wasn’t ideal!” said Hateley.

    “But I scored it and hopefully settled a few nerves.

    “I knew where I was going to go as I had been practicing them earlier this season for the European games, so I was very confident.”

    Hateley was honest when looking back on the performance against St Mirren, acknowledging a lacklustre second-half in which the visitors looked set to claim a point.

    Yet, as all the top teams prove, sometimes the ability to win when you are not at your best is an extraordinarily useful skill to acquire. 

    “It wasn’t the best performance by any means but we are very happy to get the three points. One of the only good things you can say is that we fought very hard and we really ground out the result despite not playing well,” he said.

    “We controlled the game in the early stages and controlled the pace, and then all of a sudden St Mirren came back into the game.

    “Sometimes the intensity just drops and you don’t know what is going wrong, but, as professionals, it is something we shouldn’t have let happen.

    “It’s a great sign that we are winning even when we don’t play particularly well. Last week we played superbly and came away with the points from Hearts, this week we didn’t play well but still managed to get the result.

    “You’ll always take playing badly and getting the win – the points are all that matter.”

    Motherwell head into the international break in third place in the SPL following their first home win of the campaign.

    And Hateley insists the team were never in any doubt that they would end their poor run of results at Fir Park.

    “A lot has been said about how we hadn’t won a game at home but won all our away matches, but that’s not something we were overly concerned about,” added the midfielder.

    “After all, we have played some really tough home matches, and we have a lot of belief in the squad.

    “The management and everyone around the club know we are good enough to beat anyone at Fir Park, so we knew the win would come.”

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    Brown pleased with three points

    Craig Brown was delighted to see his side seal their first home victory of the season with a 3-1 success agaisnt St Mirren.

    Late goals from Tom Hateley and Jamie Murphy swung the game in Motherwell’s favour after Gareth Wardlaw cancelled out Chris Humphrey’s opener.

    It is arguable whether the home side deserved all three points but Brown believes the Steelmen finally got a bit of luck at Fir Park.

    “We’ll take the three points because there have been occasions this season where we have deserved three points and haven’t got them,” he said.

    “The game against Hibs is a great example of that, and we also deserved to beat Aberdeen.

    “I would say that the St Mirren performance in the second-half was the most pressure we have been under all season. They were sharp, lively, and aggressive and with 20 minutes to go we would have taken a draw.

    “They got the equiliser and there is no doubt they were pushing for the winner.”

    The Motherwell  boss was honest enough in his assessment of his own side’s display to admit there were failings against The Buddies.

    Fresh faces were called from the bench to reinvigorate the performance, as stalwarts of recent results struggled to make the same impact as in past fixtures.

    “The defence was solid and Jennings and Lasley always compete, but apart from that our team was very hit-and-miss today,” said Brown.

    “We have players who can make a real impact when they are form, in fact they are unstoppable; but today our players were short of form and we could have replaced a few of the guys.

    “That is not to be disrespectful, because our players have played seven league games, a Co-operative Insurance Cup tie and six European matches.”

    One player who did catch the eye in a quality cameo was recent signing Alan Gow.

    The 27-year old came off the bench and won the penalty which Hateley converted, before setting-up Murphy to put the result beyond doubt.

    “Alan Gow made a terrific impact coming off the bench and he managed to keep the ball – and at that stage of the game nobody was keeping the ball, it was going up top and coming straight back at us.

    “He also broke extremely well from his own half to create the goal to seal the game.

    “At the moment he is a very good substitute, but when he is fully fit I expect him to be a very good starting player and give more competition for those front places. It is only a lack of match practice which is stopping his getting a start for us.”

    One sour note from the game was an injury to Steven Saunders, who had to be stretched off early in the second-half.

    “He’s strained his groin muscle stretching for the ball in the second half on the wet turf,” confirmed Brown.

    “I feel sorry for him because he is to report for Scotland duty in the morning and there is no chance he will be able to play, according to our doctor.

    “It’s unfortunate because he is a terrific prospect for us and Scotland.”

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    St Mirren win in pictures

    Pictures from the 3-1 victory over St Mirren in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park. These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.

    [svgallery name=”stmirren021010″]