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    Gers can wait as derby excitement kicks in

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    Co-operative Insurance Cup draw

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    Thomson’s in charge

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    Voting open for monthly awards

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    Show Racism the Red Card

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    Hamilton Programme

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    Last four confirmed

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    Dundee Utd win in pictures

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    Motherwell 1 – 0 Dundee Utd

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    Our best chance of success

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    Gers can wait as derby excitement kicks in

    Keith Lasley is well aware how big an occasion the Co-operative Insurance semi-final against Rangers in the New Year will be, but he insists his complete focus is on Hamilton at Fir Park this Saturday.

    The squad responded remarkably well to the distractions of the Europa League earlier in the season, and similar powers of concentration will be required to ignore the prospect of a trip to Hampden to face the reigning Scottish champions.

    A win over their Lanarkshire rivals and continued residence in third spot in the SPL could be the reward for achieving that level of focus.

    “It’s a massive match against Hamilton tomorrow. The Cup is one thing, but it is vital to keep our great league form going,” said Lasley.

    “Once you get to third spot you want to do everything in your power to stay there. We look at the league table after every Saturday and we are desperate to stay where we are in the league, and we’ll only do that by winning matches.

    “We know every match is difficult in the SPL, but at the same time we believe we have the quality to maintain our position.”

    Lasley is actually still a doubt for this weekend’s match, and his absence would undoubtedly be a blow for Brown’s men.

    He picked up a nasty looking knock in the league win over Dundee United last Saturday, being forced off after just 19 minutes, and he missed the midweek Co-operative Insurance Cup win over the same team.

    Now the determined ‘Well stalwart is working twice as hard as normal in the hope of playing a part on Saturday.

    “I’m hopeful to be playing tomorrow; I am doing a bit of work at the moment and I’ll come in a little bit earlier tomorrow and we’ll see whether I’m fit enough to play,” he confirmed.

    “But I’m absolutely desperate to play; I know what a big match this is.”

    The 30-year-old’s focus on this weekend should not be mistaken for an apathy regarding the Co-operative Insurance Cup draw.

    On the contrary, Keith was visibly thrilled at the draw, and there is no doubt the match – to take place in the last weekend of January – will be a magnificent occasion for everyone involved with Motherwell Football Club.

    Even the difficulty of drawing Rangers wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits.

    “It’s going to be a fantastic encounter, and something the players will really look forward to,” he insisted. “It’s the type of match that every player is desperate to play in; the whole experience of a match at Hampden – the build-up, the excitement and the match itself – is wonderful.

    “We will certainly believe we can win the match.

    “Perhaps we could have got a kinder draw, but when it comes to semi-final time it’s a case of you get who you’re given. In this country you know that to win major tournaments you are probably going to have to beat Rangers and or Celtic at some point.

    “Although we had a poor result at Rangers a couple of weeks ago I think we have shown on several occasions that we can match them on our day. Even in the 4-1 defeat for long periods of the game we were a good match for them.”

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    Co-operative Insurance Cup draw

    Motherwell have been drawn against holders Rangers in the semi-finals of the Co-operative Insurance Cup.

    Celtic will play Aberdeen in the other tie following this afternoon’s draw at Hampden Park.

    Both ties are due to be played at the national stadium on the weekend of the 29th and 30th January.

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    Thomson’s in charge

    Craig Thomson is the man in charge of this Saturday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Hamilton Accies at Fir Park.

    Regarded as the best in Scotland, Thomson is a familiar face to Motherwell fans having already taken charge of the league opener against Hibs (3-2 defeat) this campaign and five ‘Well games last season.

    The whistler was the man in charge for the first Lanarkshire derby of last season when Jim Gannon’s side were held to a 2-2 draw by ten-man Hamilton Accies last November.

    He was also the man in the middle for the 6-1 demolition at Ibrox in late December as Gannon’s reign as boss was coming to an end.

    He oversaw the 3-0 away victory at Rugby Park in Craig Brown’s first full game in charge and the excellent 2-1 away win at McDiarmid Park. His fifth game was another sour note though as Stephen Pressley’s Falkirk came to Fir Park and ran out 1-0 winners courtesy of Ryan Flynn’s 27th minute strike

    His record in charge of the Steelmen is mixed with nine wins, thirteen defeats and six draws.

    Not included in that list was the 2007/08 Scottish Cup fourth round replay win against Hearts at Fir Park, when he replaced the injured Stuart Dougal midway through the second-half.

    In those 28 games, Motherwell have scored 39 and conceded 39. 100 players have gone into the book, 49 were wearing claret and amber, while four players, including Stephen Craigan, have been dismissed. The skipper saw red in the 2-0 Scottish Cup defeat to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park five years ago.

    Thomson will be ably assisted by Tom Murphy and Francis Andrews with George Salmond on fourth official duties.

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    Voting open for monthly awards

    With almost a quarter of the 2010/11 Clydesdale Bank Premier League season gone and the league table starting to take shape it is once again time to have your say in the Clydesdale Bank Manager, Player and Young Player of the Month awards.

    Have one of our players or young players caught your eye with their SPL performances throughout the month? 

    Craig Brown has the Steelmen third in the table and playing some excellent football. Could he be in the running for Manager of the Month?

    Nick Blackman continues to impress and, despite being overlooked in September, he’s surely in the running for the Young Player of the Month for October.

    And what about Chris Humphrey? The winger has been sensational during the month with the press linking him with a possible Scotland call-up. Surely the former Shrewsbury Town man will be amongst the favourites for the Player of the Month gong?

    You can vote by visiting the Clydesdale Bank Premier League website www.cbfootball.co.uk and the top three fans nominations will be put forward to the shortlist for the panel of Scottish football experts to choose the winners.

    And to give you something back for voting, a lucky fan whose votes for the three categories match that of the judging panel will be picked at random to win hospitality tickets for a Clydesdale Bank Premier League team of their choice (subject to availability).

    Voting is now open and closes at 12pm on Tuesday 2nd November.

    Log onto www.cbfootball.co.uk to cast your vote, test your knowledge in the weekly quiz and enter the competition to win tickets to our next SPL fixture.

  • Archive

    Show Racism the Red Card

    Before kick off this weekend, clubs playing at every SPL match, will be united in calling for an end to racism in football and in society.

    Players in over 40 European countries are involved in similar events as part of the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network against racism and discrimination.

    Show Racism the Red Card has received excellent support from football clubs, football authorities and football fans the length and breadth of Scotland and we would like to thank you for this. It has not been without it’s challenges though and we urge fans to continue to support the anti-racist message. We have heard of many instances where real supporters have turned on racist fans making it clear that they are not welcome at their club.

    Within football racism has been directed towards players who were born in Scotland and who elected to play for the Republic of Ireland. The campaign will continue to speak to all football clubs, the football authorities and the police to eradicate all forms of racist behaviour.

    The SPL and its clubs deplore all forms of racism and any racist behaviour will not be tolerated at Scottish Premier League fixtures.

    This year the campaign has developed partnerships with local authorities to deliver educational workshops combined with football coaching sessions in a number of regions. The workshops are delivered by ex-professional footballers and they are a very positive method of educating our young people about the negative impact racism has on Scottish society.

    Here’s a brief outline of what’s taking place during the Fortnight of Action this year:

    • Anti-racist football tournaments and projects in Paisley, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Inverness, Paisley and Wick.
    • Show Racism the Red Card actions at SPL, SFL, SWPL, SWFL, SJFA, and Scottish Cup matches.
    • Unite Against Racism’ actions at UEFA Champions League fixtures.
    • Educational workshops in schools and community groups across Scotland.

    Football is a sport that is followed by people across the world, and football matches should be an enjoyable experience for all, whatever their racial or religious background. We all have a part to play in showing Racism the Red Card.

    If you see or hear racism at any level of football, please report it to stewards or police. Our website also includes updates on Fortnight of Action events and more information on the “Show Racism the Red Card” campaign in Scotland.

  • Archive

    Hamilton Programme

    The seventh edition of the Motherwell Matchday Magazine is on sale this Saturday when Accies visit Fir Park for the Lanarkshire derby.

    After successive home wins against Dundee United, ‘Well will be hoping to make it three from three against their nearest rivals.

    And the new-look, 64-page programme will again be on sale with all the latest from Fir Park.

    This week, boss Craig Brown looks back at the double header against the Arabs and addresses the emotive issue of Scottish officials.

    The hero from Tuesday night, Alan Gow, gives his verdict on progressing to the Cup Semi Final and his long-term plans for the future.

    There’s a fantastic 8-page interview with influential midfielder Steve Jennings. The scouser, enjoying another brilliant season, talks about derby football, life in Scotland and playing for Motherwell FC.

    We have a ten-page section dedicated to our visitors, Hamilton Accies, including a player-by-player account of Billy Reid’s men. Peter Elder also takes us back through time to recall some of the good and, erm, not so good encounters between the sides.

    Alan Temple examines the ‘modern derby’, Jamie Murphy talks crazy golf, lonely Spaniards and ball bags in our Pot Shots feature. The latest bout of Brainiacs yields the best to scores so far! Stevie Hammell takes on Stevie Saunders and both scored high. Only one can win and progress to take on Jamie Murphy in the Quarter Final. You’ll need to pick up your copy to check it out.

    And that’s not all… We look back at the 2-1 SPL success against Dundee Utd in the SPL as well as the 1-0 win against the same side in the Co-operative Insurance Cup three days later. There’s a breakdown of the Show Racism the Red Card Fortnight of Action, the latest community news as well as all the latest ticket information for our next six matches.

    The programme, priced at £3, will be available in the ‘Well Shop with sellers in and around the ground from about 1pm.

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    Last four confirmed

    Celtic and Rangers will join Aberdeen and Motherwell in Friday’s Co-operative Insurance Cup Semi Final draw at Hampden.

    The Steelmen will appear at this stage of the competition for the first time in almost five years. Last time, a late goal by Shaun Maloney, following a pass-back by Martyn Corrigan, dashed ‘Well hopes of another appearance at the Final, having got there one season before.

    The draw, which will take place at Hampden this coming Friday (2.30pm), could pit the Fir Parkers against either half of the Old Firm or Mark McGhee’s Aberdeen side.

    Speaking to motherwellfc.co.uk, young defender Steven Saunders said, “We are all really looking forward to the draw and the game itself.

    “You could say that Scotland’s three biggest teams are there, along with ourselves, so we’ll relish the challenge. It would be amazing to get to a Cup Final and everyone will be focusing on getting just that when the times comes.”

  • Archive

    Dundee Utd win in pictures

    Pictures from the 1-0 victory over Dundee Utd in the Co-operative Insurance Cup Quarter Final at Fir Park. These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.

    [svgallery name=”dundeeutd261010″]

  • Archive

    Motherwell 1 – 0 Dundee Utd

    [tab:Match report]

    Alan Gow struck with a matter of seconds left on the clock to send the Steelmen into their first semi-final since 2006.

    The dramatic finale was not in keeping with the rest of a scrappy encounter, which was only really lively in a vibrant opening 15 minutes.

    However that was rendered well and truly irrelevant as Gow latched onto a Prince Buaben ‘clearance’ which hit Dusan Pernis’ post and fired home emphatically.

    It was an unusual quirk of coincidence which saw The Steelmen line up against United so soon after playing them in the SPL – with The Arabs hunting for revenge and ‘Well looking for a repeat score-line and performance.

    Unsurprisingly, after a lacklustre display from his men on Saturday, Peter Houston made a couple of changes to his starting eleven. The scorer of the first own goal, Scott Severin, dropped out to be replaced by young Keith Watson with Sean Dillon moving into the centre of defence. Scott Robertson came in to replace the injured Craig Conway.

    Equally predictable was Craig Brown’s decision to stick with the same team as his side looked to defeat The Terrors twice in the space of three days – and set up a Co-operative Insurance Cup semi-final date.

    Houston’s men emerged like a team keen to right some wrongs, and within three minutes United had carved out a decent chance. A hopeful long ball into the box found the towering Garry Kenneth and his knock-down was latched onto by David Goodwillie, but the gifted 21-year old could only poke his snapshot into the grateful arms of Darren Randolph.

    The ‘Well gaffer was repeating his occasional ploy of starting with Chris Humphrey on the left flank, and the Jamaican-born winger carved out Motherwell’s immediate response to that threat. Humphrey hared down the left before surging in-field, a perfectly timed pass released Jamie Murphy and his cross-cum-shot which narrowly evaded Alan Gow and Nick Blackman sliding at the back stick.

    Two minutes later, in an excellent opening to the encounter, a lovely Jamie Murphy pass slipped Gow clear in the box, but at a tight angle the former Rangers man could only fire into the arms of Dusan Pernis.

    There was a morbid predictability about Willie Collum being involved in a controversial penalty decision following his display on Sunday, and it didn’t take long – 14 minutes in fact.

    Scott Robertson played a beautifully incisive pass into the left channel of the ‘Well box for Paul Dixon, and the United left back lashed a decent effort on target. The shot was parried, and with Scott Robertson ready to tap in Steve Jennings made a last-ditch tackle from behind.

    The visitors screamed for a penalty, but Collum said no, and it looked like the correct decision.

    Amazingly, at almost the exact same time as Lasley went off injured on Saturday – 19 minutes in – Jamie Murphy hobbled off to be replaced by John Sutton. The Scotland under-21 star looked in some distress and all ‘Well fans will be hoping he won’t be out for too long.

    It took until just after the half-hour mark for ‘Well to carve out another couple of efforts on goal; firstly coming from a long-distance in-swinging free-kick from Tom Hateley which evaded everyone and almost beat Dusan Pernis at the far post.

    That was followed five minutes later by a superb one-two between Blackman and Gow on the edge of the United box which set the on-loan Blackburn man through on goal, but Dusan Pernis was quick off his line to block.

    ‘Well started the second half the way the ended the first, and had another half-chance as Chris Humphrey whipped in a cracker of a cross which narrowly evaded Nick Blackman in the centre.

    Unfortunately that proved to be the only chance of note until nearly the hour-mark when Alan Gow fed Nick Blackman on the edge of the box and the bustling striker flashed a shot narrowly wide of Pernis’ left-hand post. That was quickly followed by another dangerous cross by Humphrey which Pernis was forced to fist away, as ‘Well attempted to nick an opener in a disappointing second period.

    With less than 15 minutes left on the clock Pernis was called into action again, this time a stinging effort from Nick Blackman was parried wide of goal. The shot may have been drifting wide but the Slovakian stopper was taking no chances.

    With the clock winding down Fir Park erupted as The Steelmen took the lead. Amazingly it was nearly another own goal by United, after the brace at the weekend. A Tom Hateley corner was sliced against the post by a Dundee United body, and Alan Gow reacted quickest to lash home the rebound from close range.

    An almighty stramash on the line proved the closest the visitors came to an equiliser, with a long throw causing havoc in the box, forcing a top save from Randolph at the back post. Amongst bodies flying everywhere ‘Well got it clear to rapturous cheers from the home fans.

    [tab:As it happened]

    90+3 FULL TIME The final whistle goes and the game is over.

    90+2 Scott Robertson fouled by Ross Forbes, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Barry Douglas.

    90+1 Garry Kenneth concedes a free kick for a foul on John Sutton. Direct free kick taken by Darren Randolph.

    89′ SUB Jonathan Page comes on in place of Alan Gow.

    87′ Danny Cadamarteri challenges Mark Reynolds unfairly and gives away a free kick. Darren Randolph takes the free kick.

    87′ SUB Andis Shala is brought on as a substitute for David Robertson.

    87′ SUB (Motherwell) makes a substitution, with Ross Forbes coming on for Steve Jennings.

    85′ Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Tom Hateley played to the near post,

    85′ GOAL – Alan Gow: Motherwell 1 – 0 Dundee Utd Alan Gow finds the net with a goal from inside the six-yard box low into the middle of the goal. Motherwell 1-0 Dundee Utd.

    85′ The referee blows for offside. Direct free kick taken by Darren Randolph.

    84′ Unfair challenge on Barry Douglas by Steve Jennings results in a free kick. Dusan Pernis takes the direct free kick.

    84′ BOOKING Steve Jennings shown a yellow card.

    83′ Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on John Sutton by David Robertson. Free kick crossed right-footed by Tom Hateley.

    82′ Centre by David Goodwillie.

    81′ David Goodwillie crosses the ball, Stephen Craigan makes a clearance.

    79′ Foul by Scott Robertson on Nick Blackman, free kick awarded. Tom Hateley crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel, save made by Dusan Pernis.

    78′ The official flags Jon Daly offside. Free kick taken by Darren Randolph.

    78′ SUB Danny Cadamarteri is brought on as a substitute for Jon Daly.

    76′ Nick Blackman takes a shot. Save by Dusan Pernis.

    75′ Chris Humphrey produces a cross, save by Dusan Pernis.

    74′ Morgaro Gomis sends in a cross, Close range headed effort by Garry Kenneth misses to the right of the goal.

    74′ Barry Douglas delivers the ball, clearance made by Alan Gow.

    74′ Short corner taken by Barry Douglas from the right by-line.

    74′ Centre by David Goodwillie, Mark Reynolds gets a block in.

    73′ Keith Watson delivers the ball.

    72′ The official flags David Goodwillie offside. Darren Randolph takes the direct free kick.

    71′ Keith Watson challenges John Sutton unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Tom Hateley.

    69′ Inswinging corner taken by Barry Douglas from the right by-line played to the near post, Tom Hateley manages to make a clearance.

    69′ The ball is delivered by Prince Buaben, Stephen Craigan manages to make a clearance.

    68′ John Sutton produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the goal.

    65′ Corner taken by Tom Hateley.

    65′ Chris Humphrey delivers the ball, blocked by Barry Douglas.

    64′ Sean Dillon challenges Nick Blackman unfairly and gives away a free kick. Stevie Hammell restarts play with the free kick.

    63′ Centre by Nick Blackman, blocked by Sean Dillon.

    61′ The ball is delivered by Chris Humphrey, blocked by Barry Douglas.

    61′ Chris Humphrey delivers the ball, save by Dusan Pernis.

    60′ Keith Watson produces a cross, Steven Saunders makes a clearance.

    59′ The ball is crossed by Tom Hateley, Garry Kenneth makes a clearance.

    59′ David Robertson concedes a free kick for a foul on John Sutton. Stevie Hammell restarts play with the free kick.

    58′ Effort on goal by Prince Buaben from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the target.

    56′ Nick Blackman produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the goal.

    55′ Nick Blackman delivers the ball.

    53′ The ball is swung over by Stevie Hammell, clearance by Garry Kenneth.

    51′ Foul by Nick Blackman on Morgaro Gomis, free kick awarded. Barry Douglas produces a cross, Shot from just outside the box by Scott Robertson goes over the crossbar.

    49′ John Sutton gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Keith Watson. Sean Dillon produces a cross, Header by Jon Daly from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.

    47′ Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Sean Dillon by Alan Gow. Dusan Pernis takes the direct free kick.

    46′ The ball is sent over by Chris Humphrey, clearance by Sean Dillon.

    45′ A cross is delivered by Barry Douglas, clearance by Mark Reynolds.

    45′ KICK OFF The match restarts for the second half.

    45′ SUB Barry Douglas replaces Paul Dixon.

    45+2 HALF TIME The first half comes to an end.

    43′ Prince Buaben gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Tom Hateley. Darren Randolph takes the free kick.

    43′ BOOKING Booking for Prince Buaben for unsporting behaviour.

    42′ Keith Watson fouled by Steve Jennings, the ref awards a free kick. Dusan Pernis takes the free kick.

    42′ Steven Saunders delivers the ball, clearance made by Keith Watson.

    40′ Tom Hateley takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Sean Dillon.

    39′ Steve Jennings fouled by David Robertson, the ref awards a free kick. Shot comes in from Tom Hateley from the free kick, blocked by Prince Buaben.

    39′ Nick Blackman has an effort at goal. Paul Dixon gets a block in.

    38′ Steve Jennings takes a shot. Blocked by Scott Robertson.

    37′ Nick Blackman takes a shot. Save by Dusan Pernis.

    37′ Mark Reynolds produces a cross, clearance by Paul Dixon.

    35′ Shot from 35 yards from David Goodwillie. Save by Darren Randolph.

    34′ Alan Gow fouled by Prince Buaben, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Stephen Craigan.

    31′ Keith Watson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nick Blackman. Tom Hateley crosses the ball in from the free kick, save made by Dusan Pernis.

    28′ Morgaro Gomis takes a shot. Blocked by Tom Hateley.

    26′ Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Stephen Craigan by Jon Daly. Free kick taken by Darren Randolph.

    22′ The ball is crossed by Chris Humphrey, clearance by Keith Watson.

    22′ David Goodwillie is ruled offside. Stephen Craigan restarts play with the free kick.

    21′ Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Stephen Craigan by Jon Daly. Darren Randolph restarts play with the free kick. David Goodwillie is ruled offside. Stephen Craigan takes the direct free kick.

    20′ The ball is swung over by Prince Buaben, Mark Reynolds manages to make a clearance.

    19′ Corner taken left-footed by Paul Dixon.

    19′ SUB Jamie Murphy goes off and John Sutton comes on.

    19′ Scott Robertson sends in a cross, blocked by Steve Jennings.

    17′ Free kick awarded for a foul by David Goodwillie on Steven Saunders. Darren Randolph restarts play with the free kick.

    14′ Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Paul Dixon.

    14′ The ball is swung over by Morgaro Gomis, blocked by Chris Humphrey.

    13′ Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Paul Dixon.

    13′ Alan Gow gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Scott Robertson. Paul Dixon takes the free kick.

    12′ Shot by Paul Dixon. Darren Randolph makes a save.

    10′ David Goodwillie is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Mark Reynolds restarts play with the free kick.

    9′ David Goodwillie takes a shot. Save made by Darren Randolph.

    8′ Unfair challenge on Morgaro Gomis by Steven Saunders results in a free kick. Paul Dixon takes the direct free kick.

    6′ Alan Gow takes a shot. Save by Dusan Pernis.

    5′ Effort from the edge of the area by Jamie Murphy goes wide of the left-hand post.

    4′ Free kick awarded for a foul by Garry Kenneth on Alan Gow. Free kick taken by Tom Hateley.

    2′ David Goodwillie takes a shot. Save by Darren Randolph.

    2′ Nick Blackman challenges Sean Dillon unfairly and gives away a free kick. Sean Dillon restarts play with the free kick.

    1′ Corner taken by Chris Humphrey played to the near post.

    0′ The referee starts the match.

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell boss Craig Brown:

    “I’ve had two semi-finals with Motherwell in the Scottish Cup as assistant manager in the 1970s. We played Rangers and lost 3-2, then Airdrie. Sadly, we didn’t progress.”

    “We had an excellent game here at the weekend but when you are playing each other so quickly again, you cancel each other out. We nullified each other.

    “It wasn’t a flowing game like Saturday’s was. It came too quickly for both of us. I am pleased for Alan Gow, who has worked hard since he came here to get fit – and for him to score the only goal is a reward for his efforts so far,” he said.

    “I thought (Stephen) Craigan and (Mark) Reynolds were first class. There was quite an aerial bombardment against them, particularly in the first half, and they withstood that very capably.

    “Dundee United were, and probably are, the third team in Scotland, so to have managed to beat them twice is a good achievement. We have played better in other games this season, but we’ll accept the result gratefully.

    “We are progressing, but there is a bit to be done.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”18″]

  • Archive

    Our best chance of success

    It was pleasing to get a positive result against United on Saturday but I have emphasised to everyone at the club that the win will have no bearing on tonight’s match.

    Whilst I appreciate Peter Houston’s generous remarks about our performance, I know that he will have been disappointed with his own team and will ensure that they will be much improved tonight.

    We certainly won’t allow ourselves to be complacent because, after all, we didn’t actually score any of the goals!

    Some of the play from both sides was of good quality but I know that we are capable of even better. Let’s hope it’s tonight because those that come out and pay good money for this additional match deserve to be entertained. Both United and Motherwell will, I am sure, ensure that true value is obtained for the admission money.

    With the Old Firm looking certain to fill the first two positions in the SPL this season, teams like Dundee United and Motherwell’s best hope of silverware is in one or other of the Cup competitions.

    Peter Houston’s men have tasted the glory of Scottish Cup success and I am sure they would love to repeat it or replicate it in the Co-operative Insurance Cup. We too would like to think that we have a chance in both Cup competitions although we will have to eliminate some of the slackness that appears in our play.

    We take all competitions extremely serious and that includes the Co-operative Insurance Cup. We have a great respect for the tournament and would thank the sponsors for their support.

    I was slightly irked by some of the criticism we received in the wake of the Quarter Final draw but if we’re lucky to progress to the Semi Final, then I am sure we’ll be well represented, even if does mean posing for pictures with the trophy again!*

    One down side from Saturday was another injury, this time to Keith Lasley, but we hope he will be fit if not for tonight, then for the forthcoming Lanarkshire derby with Hamilton Accies here at Fir Park.

    One other thing that has been brought to my attention is the amount of clubs that are represented at our matches. This is testimony to the progress of some of talented players.

    But, I would like to emphasise that, at this point in time, we have had no official interest intimated regarding any of our outstanding young players.

    I would also like to take the time to welcome perhaps the most influential man in my coaching career, former Motherwell manager Willie McLean.

    He will join us with former Kilmarnock and Ayr United stalwart Jim McSherry and Bobby Williamson, who has just signed a new contract as national team manager of Uganda, as guests of the club.

    Finally, I would like to reiterate my thanks for your support. We did feel it was a bit lukewarm at times on Saturday and the United fans managed to outshout us at times. Please be our twelfth man tonight and we‘ll do our very best to book a place in the Semi Final.

    Thanks again

    Craig Brown