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    Brown anticipates excellent Hearts clash

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    Brown tells refs to ‘act like men’

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    Under 19s Game Off

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    Bid on the Poppy Shirt

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    Games to go ahead

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    Category 1 Referees: Weekend of Action

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    Scottish Cup Fourth Round Draw

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    Brown reflects on Saints draw

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    St Mirren draw in pictures

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    St Mirren 1 – 1 Motherwell

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    Brown anticipates excellent Hearts clash

    Craig Brown is looking forward to a great encounter with in-form Hearts on Sunday afternoon, although he is under no illusions about how tough it will be.

    The Tynecastle men come into this clash on the back of four consecutive wins, and haven’t conceded a single goal in that period which has included matches against arch-rivals Hibs and against Neil Lennon’s Celtic.

    But Motherwell can take heart from a win in Edinburgh earlier this campaign and by the fact Craig Brown’s Motherwell have won all three clashes against the side from Gorgie since Brown’s arrival in January.

    “Hearts have four wins in a row and I have great respect for big Jim (Jefferies) and his staff and we are really looking forward to it,” he enthused.

    “We won at Tynecastle earlier in the season, and, in fact, we have had very good performances against Hearts since I’ve come to the club. We have won the last three – although that doesn’t mean we’ll win the fourth. There’s a good respect between the clubs and that should make for an excellent game.

    “We’ve had a couple of away games recently, and I think we were very unfortunate not to get something in the Hibs game, and we managed a draw with St Mirren.

    “We now have two home games coming up, and they are very important games for us as we try to maintain a good threat in the SPL. Therefore Hearts and Motherwell should be a very good fixture.”

    This preparation for this fixture has been marred by the strike of Scotland’s top referees, and we will have the bizarre sight of a referee from abroad officiating an SPL match at Fir Park this weekend.

    The Motherwell boss was open enough to admit that he has reservations about the impact a foreign referee could have on what is sure to be a passionate clash between two sides battling for third spot.

    As a former Scotland boss, Brown has plenty of experience with foreign officials but he would still rather have one of our own.

    “I don’t mind who we get to officiate our games, as long as they are qualified. After all, for 16 years I was dealing with foreign referees,” he started.

    “But I’m quite sure the referees won’t be any better than what we have in Scotland. All we can hope is that they are fair and that they do the best they can. I don’t think they will know the Scottish culture or the Scottish psyche so they won’t have the same feel for the game that our officials do.

    “During my time as a manager I have found that Scottish referees were as good as referees anywhere in the world, even down in England where they are full time.”

    Despite a very unfamiliar figure with the whistle, the ‘Well gaffer can potentially look forward to the return of a very familiar face in Keith Lasley for the visit of the Gorgie men, as he presides over a fully fit squad.

    “Every player is fit and available for us at the moment,” Brown confirmed. “So we have no complaints on that count and we are all ready for the match.”

  • Archive

    Brown tells refs to ‘act like men’

    Craig Brown has told referees they must learn to deal with criticism and show greater maturity ahead of a footballing weekend decimated by their strike action.

    The SFA have confirmed that Motherwell’s match against Hearts this weekend will go ahead, refereed by foreign official, appeasing initial fears that Motherwell may pay a heavy price for the transgressions of other clubs.

    Yet even with the immediate concern of a postponed match out of the way, the ‘Well boss couldn’t hide his ire towards a refereeing fraternity who he believes need to ‘grow up’.

    An uncharacteristically aggravated ‘Well gaffer said: “Everyone has been criticised in this game.

    “If any referee had been the Scotland manager – not just me, you have seen it with Craig Levein recently – and had the abuse that position receives, it is incredible. Not just to yourself, but to your family.

    “There is abuse in every area of this game so the referees are feeling persecuted when they are not the only ones. What I am saying to the referees is: grow up and talk to the various parties like men.”

    Scottish football was thrown into chaos on Sunday as the referees announced their intention to withdraw their services for this weekends’ calendar – despite apparently not holding talks with any of the governing bodies beforehand.

    Craig Brown, who knows more about Scottish football and what goes on in the corridors of power at the SFA, thinks this immediate strike is simply unacceptable. 
     
    “I think the Scottish Referees Association has embarrassed football in Scotland by taking this unilateral strike action,” the experienced manager fumed. “There are five other bodies which should have been consulted before this takes place.

    “First thing they should have done was talk to Alex Smith of the Managers Union; you won’t find a more decent, sensible guy. I feel very strongly that if referees have a problem with managers then they should have consulted Alex Smith.

    “Also, speak to Fraser Wishart of the Players Union; speak to David Longmuir at the SFL, Neil Doncaster at the SPL and then Stewart Regan at the SFA. If, having all five parties round the table, they still have concerns then maybe they could decide on a strike.

    “It should have been dealt with in a mature, calm, sensible manner. That’s my view on the matter. The way to sort this is dialogue, not strike; strike should be an absolute last resort.

    Brown also slammed the referees’ decision to carry out a blanket ban, regardless of whether or not the clubs suffering have a history of critcising referees. A fact which is particularly irksome to the gaffer, considering he has never publicly derided a referees’ performance – despite opportunity and, arguably, justification to do so.

    “I would like the referees to come out and tell me what this has got to do with Motherwell Football Club. Referees make mistakes, and we have been on the end of some poor decisions, but I have never made an issue out of the errors in public and we should not be punished.

    “I’ve said before that we are a non-offending club. I heard Donald Findlay, the Cowdenbeath Chairman, eloquently explaining how his club were a non-offending club – yet they have lost a Fife derby with Dunfermline because of this.

    “If they had a grievance – and they clearly feel that they do – then they should have explained it specifically, because I now feel like we have a grievance. A blanket ban is not fair on many clubs, and it is cowardly.

    The former Scotland gaffer has never made any secret of his strong patriotic streak, and his disappointment is clear when referring to the potential damage which is being done to the image of our national game.

    “They have damaged the game to make a point, and I think there are more mature and constructive ways to make the point,” Brown insisted.

    “The damage which is being done to our game in the eyes of Europe and the rest of the world is massive. I don’t know if the referees have even considered this, and I’m really quite depressed that it should come to this, because I try to promote Scottish football, and Scottish referees.”

  • Archive

    Under 19s Game Off

    Motherwell’s Under 19s clash with Hibs, scheduled to take place Saturday 27th November, has been postponed due to the cold weather.

    The pitch at Bathgate is already frozen and, with no improvement looking likely in the weather, the game has been postponed.

    No date has, as yet, been scheduled for the re-arranged fixture.

  • Archive

    Bid on the Poppy Shirt

    The incredible offers on MotherwellFC-Bay keep coming and you now have a chance to buy a Motherwell Poppy strip.

    Motherwell players wore specially produced Poppy shirts as the club once again showed its support for Remembrance Day commemorations.

    There are 16 shirts have each been signed by the individual players and are now available to bid for with all proceeds raised from the auction going towards both the Poppy Appeal Fund (25%) and the Motherwell FC Community Trust (75%), the club’s own charity.

    This auction is for a signed Stephen Craigan shirt – once all shirts are sold we will calculate total and donate the balance of sales as above.

    Others to follow or contact the club at bids@motherwellfc.co.uk or offers for others.

    Payment in person at the club, paypal, cheque or credit /debit card accepted.

    We will advise on individual postage if outwith the UK, ask us for a price, we are happy to post worldwide when cleared payment is made.

    BID NOW

  • Archive

    Games to go ahead

    All six Clydesdale Bank Premier League fixtures across Saturday and Sunday will be played as scheduled despite the weekend of strike action by Scottish Category 1 referees.

    Neil Doncaster, Chief Executive of the SPL, said: “The Scottish FA has acted quickly to put contingency plans in place. FIFA listed or Category 1 match officials from overseas will take charge of all Clydesdale Bank Premier League games this weekend. The SPL fully supports these plans.

    “It is deeply regrettable that Scottish match officials will not be taking charge of Clydesdale Bank Premier League games this weekend.

    “The SPL is sympathetic towards referees and the criticism they have received in recent weeks but the way to address concerns is through dialogue, not to walk away from the situation.”

  • Archive

    Category 1 Referees: Weekend of Action

    The Scottish FA yesterday stood shoulder-to-shoulder with both the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League in offering representatives of the Category 1 Referees unequivocal and tangible support in an attempt to avert the planned withdrawal of labour scheduled for this coming weekend.

    This included the promise of tougher and more immediate sanctions on players and club officials who abuse referees and match officials, and especially those who challenge their integrity and honesty. These new guidelines also incorporated a ban on all club officials commenting on referees in the build-up to matches and in the immediate aftermath.

    These measures received the full backing of the Scottish FA President and the Chief Executive.

    Regrettably, at midnight last night, the Scottish FA were informed that following a further meeting of Category 1 referees there would be no change of heart in relation to the strike and no suspension of action while the Scottish FA implements the measures proposed.

    Therefore, the weekend of action will proceed as planned and the Scottish FA will implement, where possible, a contingency plan to allow some fixtures to take place as planned this weekend, using officials from other international associations.

    Stewart Regan, Chief Executive of the Scottish FA: “This is a very sad day for Scottish football.  After further positive talks yesterday, and having received the backing of both the SPL and the SFL, I felt that we had shown our commitment to the refereeing fraternity and that they had recognised that substantial progress had been made.

    “If this withdrawal of labour goes ahead it will be the fans, clubs, sponsors and media partners who will suffer and that cannot be good for the game in this country.  I would urge the Category 1 referees to reconsider their decision and, having benefited from the wave of sympathy for their current situation, plus the offer of affirmative action, realise the potential impact of their actions.”

    Neil Doncaster, SPL Chief Executive: “It is deeply regrettable that Scottish match officials will not be taking charge of Clydesdale Bank Premier League games this weekend. The SPL is sympathetic towards referees and the criticism they have received in recent weeks but the way to address concerns is through dialogue, not to walk away from the situation.”

    David Longmuir, SFL Chief Executive: “The SFL is extremely disappointed that despite our efforts nothing could be done to avert the course of action about to be taken by our referee colleagues this weekend. Throughout the last few days we have tried to find a solution for both the short and long term which would have reinforced our existing support and admiration for all Scottish referees.

    “Our commitment to that is unchanged. However, as a result of the action planned for this weekend, many of our clubs and supporters will feel let down.”

  • Archive

    Scottish Cup Fourth Round Draw

    Motherwell have been drawn to face First Division side Dundee in the Fourth Round of the Scottish Cup.

    The Dens Park men have had well publicised financial problems but have been performing well on the pitch and sit 4th in Division One, seven points off top albeit with an outstanding 25 point deduction hanging over their head.

    And, with Craig Brown being a former Dundee player and Archie Knox being a former Dark Blue manager, it has all the ingredients for a cracking Cup tie.

    Fourth Round draw:

    • Aberdeen v East Fife
    • Dundee United v Ross County
    • Queen of the South v Brechin City or Annan Athletic
    • Montrose v Dunfermline Athletic
    • Greenock Morton v Airdrie United or Beith
    • Falkirk v Partick Thistle
    • Berwick Rangers v Celtic
    • East Stirlingshire v Buckie Thistle
    • Rangers v Kilmarnock
    • Hibernian v Ayr United
    • Stenhousemuir or Threave Rovers v Stranraer
    • Hamilton Academical v Alloa Athletic
    • St Mirren v Peterhead
    • Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Elgin City
    • Dundee v Motherwell
    • Heart of Midlothian v St Johnstone

    Ties will be played on 8th and 9th January 2011

  • Archive

    Brown reflects on Saints draw

    ‘Well boss Craig Brown felt his side could have got more than just a point from this afternoon’s match with St Mirren.

    The Steelmen had to come back from a goal behind after former Cowdenbeath striker Gareth Wardlaw had headed Saints in front, seven minutes before the interval.

    Despite sustained pressure, it looked as Motherwell may slip to their second defeat in a week. However, a Nick Blackman thunderbolt fourteen minutes from time rescued a precious point.

    Brown said, “I am never satisfied with a point but when you are one goal down and you get a goal back, you have to be happy with a point.

    “Then for the rest of the game there was only one team going to win the game. But I need to credit St Mirren with a good performance; I said to our players that I saw them against Celtic and I think they had more possession when they hit the bar.

    “I thought then that they were a good side and I thought they played better against Celtic than they did against us, which is a compliment to our team.

    “Our first half performance should have been better, but in the second half we were. Even in the first half Darren Randolph hadn’t really a save to make in the game, while we hit the post at the other end.

    “I am biased but I think everyone is agreeing a draw was the right result but I think we just edged it.”

    Brown also reserved special praise for Nick Blackman who netted his 10th goal of the season in spectacular style.

    The on loan Blackburn Rovers man has been on sensational form since his move north, and Brown was quick to compliment the 20-year-old.

    “He turned and swivelled well to strike a great volley into the roof of the net,” Brown recalled.

    “It wasn’t his best game for Motherwell, other than that we are looking for something from him.

    “The best chance fell to Steve Jennings, who had supported brilliantly from midfield and some other chances from Humphrey cutting the ball back.”

    The Hall of Famer was also frustrated by the nature of the goal his side conceded: “To lose the goal the way we did was poor; the corner kick was cleared but the second ball into the box was headed in and I don’t know how he managed it with the people we had in there.

    “It wasn’t a great performance; we played better last week, particularly in the second half, and lost the game. We didn’t play quite so well today, but that is credit to Saints who are a good battling side who are getting better every week. I think they will cause a lot of teams some problems, particularly here at Paisley.”

  • Archive

    St Mirren draw in pictures

    Pictures from the 1-1 draw with St Mirren in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at New St Mirre Park. These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.

    [svgallery name=”stmirren20112010″]

  • Archive

    St Mirren 1 – 1 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    A sensational strike from Nick Blackman gave Motherwell a share of the spoils at St Mirren Park this afternoon.

    Saints had earlier taken the lead late in the first half when Gareth Wardlaw met a Paul McGowan cross from the right to put his team in the driving seat.

    But Motherwell pushed and pushed for a leveller and it eventually came on the 74th minute when Blackman hammered a stunning drive high into the top corner leaving Craig Samson absolutely helpless.

    Craig Brown opted to start with the same side that lost at Easter Road seven days ago. But whilst the personnel remained the same, the side lined up slightly different with Blackman operating in a slightly wider role with Murphy utilised through the centre.

    Both teams started bright but it was the Steelmen who would create the first real chance through Alan Gow. The former Falkirk man launched a stinging free-kick that forced Samson into a decent one-handed save at the expense of a corner.

    Two minutes later, another free-kick, this time from Tom Hateley again caused problems for the keeper. His shot took a wicked deflection off the wall but the deflection proved kind for the Buddies as it cannoned back off the post before eventually being hooked clear.

    Motherwell continued to pick away and a long range effort from Blackman came within an inch of nestling in the top corner but skimmed over the top of the bar.

    Saints survived and almost scored somewhat against the run of play just two minutes after Blackman’s strike. David van Zanten sent a stinging half-volley just wide of Darren Randolph’s left hand upright with the former Charlton man at full stretch.

    It was to prove the shot across the bow that the Steelmen failed to heed as Saints took the lead eight minutes before the interval. A corner from the right wasn’t properly cleared allowing Paul McGowan to collect on the right flank. His cross found Gareth Wardlaw inside the six yard box and he flicked a header in off the right hand post.

    Patrick Cregg fired a free-kick way over the bar and Higdon blasted a low shout bouncing wide of Randolph’s post before the interval but St Mirren couldn’t add to their tally.

    Into the second forty-five and a completely uneventful first ten minutes was rudely interrupted by Higdon who, after turning well inside the box, fluffed an effort high over the bar.

    It took Motherwell fifteen minutes to register an effort at goal but an Alan Gow free-kick from twenty yards out failed to trouble Samson.

    Set pieces were causing problems at both ends and Higdon came within an inch of putting his side two in front but was denied by a brilliant Randolph block.  His low strike clipped the wall, sending the ball spinning in the opposite direction but the Irishman did exceptionally well to get a toe out and blocked.

    It was a crucial save and proved the catalyst for the Steelmen getting back into the game.

    The leveller should’ve came through Steve Jennings; Alan Gow played in Chris Humphrey and his cutback from the touchline was perfect for the Liverpudlian but his low shot from sixteen yards screwed wide of the post when a goal seemed certain.

    Steven Saunders launched a volley way over the bar before ‘Well finally got level and it was a goal of some quality from Nick Blackman after seventh-four minutes.

    The on-loan Blackburn man picked up a neat pass from substitute Ross Forbes before turning and unleashing an unstoppable strike that rocketed past Samson into the top right hand corner. There was bedlam behind the goal, even more so when the 10-goal hitman jumped in to join them in sheer jubilation.

    The goal gave the Fir Parkers obvious confidence and they almost made it 2-1 when Gow combined with Sutton inside the area only for his controlled side footer to curl inches wide of the post.

    To make things worse for Saints, Michael Higdon was sent for an early bath for a second bookable offence. Whilst his trip on Stephen Craigan wasn’t the worst challenge in the game, the former Falkirk man had been lucky to remain on the pitch after lashing out at Jamie Murphy whilst already on a yellow card during the first forty-five.

    That meant a late flurry for the Steelmen who went in search of a winner. Mark Reynolds met a Hateley corner from the right but could only head over. John Sutton cushion a header of his own narrowly wide and, with virtually the last kick of the ball, Ross Forbes came within a whisker of the winner but his low bouncing shot dropped just wide of the post with Samson beaten.

    A game where Motherwell probably just shaded it but a draw was probably a fair result all things considered. Inverness’ impressive win over Hibs means Brown’s men drop to fifth in the table with third place Hearts the visitors to Fir Park next Sunday.

    [tab:As it happened]

    90+3: FT: St Mirren 1: 1 Motherwell

    90+3: Free-kick for Saints on the edge. Last kick of the ball stuff…

    89mins: Ross Forbes almost gives Motherwell the winner but his bouncing strike goes just wide. 

    85mins: Corner from the right is headed over by Reynolds! A Sutton header also drops wide as Well go in search of a winner.

    84mins: Higdon sent off for a foul on Craigan. He’s been walking a tightrope for most of the game,

    83mins: Sutton booked for dissent. He joins Blackman who was carded after his goal for juming into the ‘Well fans behind the goal.

    79mins: Almost 2-1 ‘Well! Great interplay on the right. Gow then flashes a shot just wide of the post. So unlucky there.

    74min: What a bloody belter from Blackman! Turn and strike from the edge of the area almost takes the net down…

    GOAL BLACKMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT A SCREAMER FROM THE BLACKBURN ROVERS MAN!

    69mins: Saunders fires a volley over the bar following a Humphrey corner.

    65mins: Great chance for Motherwell. Gow plays Humphrey in: his cut-back finds Jennings but he screws his shot wide from 16 yards.

    65mins: Wardlaw booked for a bad challenge on Hateley.

    64mins: Saints almost make it two. Higdon free-kick hits the wall but Randolph makes a great save with his foot. Kept ‘Well in the game!

    61mins: John Sutton is on for Jamie Murphy.

    60mins: Alan Gow hits a curling effort into the arms of Samson! First chance of the second half for ‘Well but it’s easy for the Saints GK.

    55mins: Higdon has the first chance of the second half but his turn and shot from close range goes high wide and not so handsome.

    46mins: Second half gets underway,….

    45+3: Half Time: St Mirren 1 – 0 Motherwell

    45+3: Shot from Higdon flies way wide of post: Big oooohhhh from the home fans but it was never going near the goal.

    45+1: Looks to be in trouble and is hobbling very bad. Not the first time a bad challenge has been missed by the ref I am afraid.

    45+1: Blackman is down again after a heavy kick. He looks hurt and JP is on to check. No free-kick from the ref though.

    45mins: Ball is eventually cleared but Higdon manages a shot that bounces harmlessly wide of the post.

    44mins: Saunders gives a needless corner kick there after a slice. Hope it’s not costly.

    42mins: Cregg free-kick troubles the back row of the North Stand more than Darren Randolph. Terrible effort…

    41mins: Reynolds booked for a foul on Higdon. Looked like a stumble from the defender but a foul and, as such, a yellow card.

    37mins: That was the first shot on target for Lennon’s men and they take the lead.

    37mins: Cross from the right by McGowan finds the former Cowdenbeath man in the six yard box and he heads home! Poor goal for ‘Well to lose

    GOAL St Mirren. Gareth Wardlaw!

    35mins: Higdon is lucky to stay on the pitch after swiping down Murphy! Can’t believe the ref hasn’t booked him after the card to Cregg.

    34mins: Cregg booked for a late foul on Hateley. Not sure if it was for back chat or the actual challenge itself?

    32mins: Absolutely freezing here at Saints. Ref isn’t helping with constantly stopping and starting things.

    24mins: Saints are starting to get the upper hand here. Few corners and half things on the edge of the box.

    23mins: Down the other end, van Zaten dipped a lovely half volley from the edge of the box just wide of the post. That too was close.

    22mins: Stinging long range drive from Blackman goes a foot or so over the bar… Close one.

    16mins: Police go in and remove some ‘Well fans for standing (I think). Meanwhile, Higdon is booked for a challenge on Randolph.

    14mins: Hateley hits the free-kick and it’s deflected onto the post… So close to 1-0 to ‘Well there!

    13mins: Another free-kick for the Steelmen at the edge of the box. Potter on Gow!

    12mins: Free-kick from Gow from about 30 yards forces Samson to touch over. Think it was heading over anyway but GK was right to make sure.

    11mins: van Zaten challenge on Blackman draws a foul. The big striker looks in some pain as he hobbles away. Hope he’s ok…

    7mins: Saints win a corner on the right: taken by McGowan but off the line by Hammell. Ref had blown up for a foul anyway…

    2mins: Kenny McLean has the first attempt at goal for Saints but his effort flies into the car park, Hope my brief is okay! :-s

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Craig Brown:

    “I am never satisfied with a point but when you are one goal down and you get a goal back, you have to be happy with a point.

    “Then for the rest of the game there was only one team going to win the game. But I need to credit St Mirren with a good performance; I said to our players that I saw them against Celtic and I think they had more possession when they hit the bar.

    “I thought then that they were a good side and I thought they played better against Celtic than they did against us, which is a compliment to our team.

    “Our first half performance should have been better, but in the second half we were. Even in the first half Darren Randolph hadn’t really a save to make in the game, while we hit the post at the other end.

    “I am biased but I think everyone is agreeing a draw was the right result but I think we just edged it.”

    St Mirren manager Danny Lennon:

    “Over the piece I’ve probably not got any qualms with a draw. I felt the first half we defended very well but I’d like to have seen us taking more care of the ball.

    “I was absolutely delighted for Gareth Wardlaw. I think his efforts since coming here deserve more return than what he has at the moment so I was delighted to see him back on the scoresheet.

    “We go in 1-0 up albeit Motherwell have a lot of possession, but they don’t really carve us open in the first half. Anything they have is more from dead ball situations and silly free-kicks we were giving away very cheaply.

    “I felt for the initial period in the second half we could have taken another one to try to put the game more in control and that’s where I think we lost that wee bit of momentum. To be fair to Motherwell they asked questions, changed their system and stretched us again.

    “They turned the momentum of the game in their favour. They got a great individual goal. The boy looks as if he’s got nothing and he turns wonderfully and gets a terrific finish. I’m not frightened to admit we were very much against it in the last 10 or 15 minutes.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

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