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    Snow hits Fir Park

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    Hearts Game Off

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    Club Statement

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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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    Snow hits Fir Park

    Fir Park was under a blanket of snow today as the recent cold snap took a turn for the worse. Here are some exclusive pictures from our friends at SNS.

    [svgallery name=”snow281110″]

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    Hearts Game Off

    This afternoon’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Hearts has been called off due to adverse weather conditions.

    After consultation with Strathclyde Police, and with no expected improvement in the weather, the match has been cancelled.

    No date has, as yet, been agreed for the rearranged game.

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    Club Statement

    Motherwell FC can tonight confirm that the Portuguese officials, scheduled to take charge of our game on Sunday, have left the country.

    However, the club have been given firm assurances by the SFA that our game versus Heart of Midlothian, live on Sky Sports, will still go ahead.

    The SFA are working furiously to ensure that no game will come under threat and the club has every sympathy with the difficult plight they are going through, and we are grateful for the work being done to ensure our game will go ahead.

    Craig Brown and the players will be in training for the game tomorrow and preparing for the match as normal.

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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.”

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    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.”

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    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.

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    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

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    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.”

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    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.”

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    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