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    Trio reach Motherwell milestone

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    McCall adamant ‘Well will improve

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    Hamilton draw in pictures

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    Hamilton 0 – 0 Motherwell

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    Get 10% off your holiday this January

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    Fixture Announcement

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    McCall unveiled as new Motherwell boss

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    New gaffer keen to attack

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    McCall takes charge at Fir Park

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    Hammell excited about the future

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    Trio reach Motherwell milestone

    Mark Reynolds, Jamie Murphy and John Sutton all reached important milestones in their Motherwell careers this afternoon.

    Mark Reynolds, a product of the Youth Development programme, took part in his 200th game for the club, despite being just 23-years-old.

    What makes the stat even more remarkable is that the defender has started every single one of those games and has yet to make a senior substitute appearance. Motherwell-born, Reynolds holds the joint record for most appearances in European competition and has played at every International level with the exception of the full squad, but that call can’t be far away.

    Jamie Murphy is another star to emerge from the Motherwell FC production line, blasting onto the scene in April 2007. This afternoon was his 100th SPL appearance in Claret and Amber, 51 of those coming as a starter. The Scotland U21 star has a decent scoring record (20 goals in 62 starts), particularly when you consider a large proportion of games he has been utilised on the flanks.

    And John Sutton has been ever-present in the side too since he signed Wycombe Wanderers in August 2008. The striker racked up his 100th appearance for Motherwell this afternoon. Always a goal threat, the 27-year old has netted a very respectable 31 times in just 80 starts for the club.

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    McCall adamant ‘Well will improve

    Stuart McCall believes there is more to come from his Motherwell side after enduring a disappointing first match in charge of the Steelmen. 

    ‘Well drew 0-0 with their Lanarkshire neighbours Hamilton in a match which was fairly low on quality and saw both sides struggle to carve many clear-cut openings.

    The gaffer expects to see an improvement after a little more time to work with his new charges.

    “The attacking team we had out today are much better that what they’ve shown,” the former Bradford City manager insisted.

    “Thankfully – although the games come thick and fast soon – we have a week off now and I can work with the players on the training ground. There are little things that I would like to work on; aspects of the game that I think we can improve on – and that we will improve on.

    “There are positives: It’s a clean sheet and we’ve got the point to build on. So well be positive and move on.”

    McCall was refreshingly honest in his assessment of a tame Lanarkshire derby, admitting that his Motherwell side didn’t deserve much more than the point they came away with.

    Although opportunities were at a premium, the home side had the pick of the chances, and could have pinched all three points when Dougie Imrie hared through on goal, only to fire wide of the post.

    A John Sutton effort, which cannoned off the bar, was the closest the visitors came as both sides continued their run without a win.

    “I’m slightly disappointed to be honest,” the 46-year old said candidly. “I don’t think we deserved any more than what we got. It was a derby match and it was never going to be a classic, but we were sloppy at times and we have to be better than that.

    “We had some decent possession in the first half, without really turning that into goal scoring chances. I was content at half-time and thought, if we could build on the possession, we could get the win.

    “But it didn’t turn out like that, and at the end Imrie has run through and he could have nicked the win for them. So there’s actually relief in a way, but I know we have better quality than what we’ve shown today.”

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    Hamilton draw in pictures

    Pictures from the 0-0 draw with Hamilton in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at New Douglas Park. These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.

    [svgallery name=”hamilton010111″]

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    Hamilton 0 – 0 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    Stuart McCall had to be content with a point on his ‘Well managerial debut after an uninspiring contest at New Douglas Park.

    Chances were at a premium throughout, but the home side arguably had the clearer sights at goal, with the excellent Dougie Imrie coming close on three separate occasions.

    Motherwell’s best opportunity came in the second-half after some excellent work from Jamie Murphy saw the young forward skin his marker and whip in a superb cross which deflected inches over the bar, via a combination of John Sutton and Tomas Cerny.

    The new gaffer made one change to the side which lost 1-0 to Celtic in midweek under the temporary stewardship of Gordon Young, as ‘Well’s top scorer Nick Blackman returned to the starting line-up in place of Mark Fitzpatrick.

    A Lanarkshire derby was a fitting occasion for a couple of Motherwell youth products to reach notable milestones, with talented centre-back Mark Reynolds playing his 200th game for the club and Scotland under-21 starlet Jamie Murphy making his 100th SPL appearance.

    Despite the local importance of the fixture and the excitement surrounding the new face in the away dugout, it was a very low-key opening to matters at New Douglas Park, with both sides struggling to find any passing fluency or attacking intent.

    Indeed, it took until the 20 minute mark for either side to register a noteworthy effort on goal. Gary McDonald received the ball on the edge of the ‘Well area and, with scarce options, drove a shot straight at Darren Randolph, who fielded comfortably.

    ‘Well responded by retaining the majority of possession, but without a real cutting edge – until they almost equalised through the most unlikely source. A Tom Hateley corner was headed away as far as Stephen Craigan on the edge of the box and the Steelmen captain smashed a half-volley narrowly over the bar with Cerny scrambling. The Northern Irishman will have to wait to end his near-five-year wait for a goal for Motherwell.

    The home side were next to threaten as Dougie Imrie lashed a shot in from all of 30 yards which had to be extremely well saved by the sprawling Darren Randolph. That was immediately followed by a headed chance for the Accies as Flavio Paixao found Gary McDonald at the back-post, but the former Aberdeen man could only head wide.

    Imrie was evidently Hamilton’s danger man, and he was involved in another dangerous moment as Billy Reid’s men attempted to pinch the lead before the break. The former Caley midfielder swung in a lovely cross for Flavio Paixao, but the Portuguese headed just over the bar. By this point Imrie was buzzing with confidence, and he tested Randolph again with a free-kick from distance which the big English stopper had to tip over the bar.

    A Mensing header, from a Paixao corner, which drifted just wide proved to be the last action of a half in which Motherwell enjoyed plenty of the ball but, in truth, could have gone in behind on the balance of chances.

    Both side traded chances early in the second half as they looked to garner an advantage from an even contest. ‘Well were first to threaten as a swift counter attack involving Gow and Blackman culminated in the on-loan Englishman firing a ferocious shot just over the bar.

    Flavio Paixao and Jordan Kirkpatrick responded with shots of their own, as both players fired off target in quick succession from decent positions just outside the area.

    As the game, once again, descended into a midfield battle it was becoming apparent that one goal could be enough to win it, and Accies came close to snatching the opener with just over 20 minutes left on the clock. Some industrious work on the left by Imrie, again, saw the ball delivered temptingly to the far post where Jim Goodwin arrived late to smash the ball across the face of goal, but thankfully for Motherwell there were no hooped jerseys to turn the ball home and Stevie Hammell scrambled clear.

    Minutes later Hamilton has Tomas Cerny to thank for keeping the game scoreless. Jamie Murphy skipped past a rash challenge on the right and flashed a superb ball into the six-yard box where a scrambled combination of John Sutton and Cerny saw the ball squirm over the bar.

    With time running out and tensions running high, Dougie Imrie should have secured the points for Hamilton with four minutes left. The gifted midfielder latched onto a hopeful through-ball, and with the ‘Well defence toiling he lashed inches wide of Randolph’s right-hand post.

    [tab:As it happened]

    90+3mins – FT Accies 0 – 0 Well. A late Imrie shot wide provides heart stopping moment, but the spoils are shared

    73mins – Another chance for Craigan. Header from a corner this time but it dropped just over,

    70mins – Oooffftt, Motherwell almost take the lead. Murph gets space on the right but his cross is saved, somehow, by Cerny.

    68mins – Hateley booked!

    66mins – Neither team really doing anything worth note. It’s been a poor, poor game.

    55mins – Saunders has taken a knock and is replaced by Fitzpatrick. Hateley goes back into RB with Fiz in the middle of the park,

    54mins – John Sutton on to replace Alan Gow.

    53mins – Crowd announced as 3171! Large part of that is in the away section I’d guess!

    52mins – Another shot from Kirkpatrick goes over. The youngster had much better options in the box too.

    52mins – Another long range shot – this time from Kirkpatrick, ends up in the same spot as Paixao. Waaayyy over the bar!

    51mins – Down the other end, Paixao has a shot from the edge that fizzes way over the bar.

    50mins – Nice build-up and shot from Blackman but it goes way over the bar! Positive signs though…

    46mins – Motherwell get the second half underway!

    45+3mins – Half Time – Hamilton 0 – 0 Motherwell

    45mins – Free-kick from Imrie forces Randolph to tip over. Not sure if it was going in but the big keeper was right to turn it over!

    40mins – Nick Blackman has a shot from the edge of the box that almost takes down the scaffolding behind the goal.

    37mins – Cross from Imrie (Hamilton’s danger man without doubt) is met by Paixao but his header drops over.

    36mins – Jim Goodwin booked for persistent fouling. His third of the game so far…

    35mins – Down the other end, Humphrey opened up space for Blackman but his low effort is well held by Cerny.

    34mins – One minute later, Imrie again the creator. Teeing up Paixao who whipped in a cross for McDonald who nodded a header wide.

    33mins – Motherwell are well on top but not creating. Accies almost hit against the run of play by Imrie’s shot is well saved by Randolph.

    29mins – Stephen Craigan almost got his first goal for nearly 5 years but his shot dropped just wide of the post.

    27mins – Paixao burst through only for Reynolds to mop up the danger at the expense of a corner. Eventually cleared by ‘Well though.

    19mins – Long range shot from Gary McDonald is the first effort on target in the match. No trouble whatsoever for Randolph though.

    15mins – Free-kick and a corner for the Steelmen but neither come to anything. Slow start indeed…

    11mins – It’s been a slow start here at NDP! Neither team getting to grips with things… Has got colder though.

    6mins – Gow had a half chance inside the area but just held on to the ball a bit too long! Great build-up play…

    1min – Hamilton Kick Off!

    Pre-match: Teams are out – great crowd over from Motherwell… Stuart McCall is getting a warm welcome!

    Pre-match: The introducing of the match mascots was, well, emm, interesting. Finishing with the wee guy punching the big furry mascot. :-s

    Pre-Match: Music at NDP is interesting… Like 1920’s swing! Strange…

    Pre-Match: Teams head back into the Dressing Rooms for final prep as the Lanarkshire derby is just 10mins away! C’mon the Steelmen…

    Pre-match: One change for Motherwell! Blackman in for Fitzpatrick!

    Pre-match: Those 11 players have played a combined 1548 games for the club. Incredible!

    Pre-match: Cracker for the Stat fans amongst you. Today’s match squad contains 11 players who have come through the Youth Ranks at Fir Park.

    Pre-match: Jamie Murphy is also set to make his 100th SPL appearance for ‘Well too. Hopefully he can grab his 21st goal in the process.

    Pre-match: Some points of interest… If he plays, Mark Reynolds will make his 200th appearance for Motherwell.

    Pre-match: Remember, the full ninety minutes is on BBC Alba later tonight (5.30pm on Sky channel 168). Let’s hope it’s worth watching eh?

    Pre-match: The SPL delegate has just arrived and is doing his pre-match inspections. It’s a cool, cloudy day here in Lanarkshire…

    Pre-match: We’ve arrived at New Douglas Park for the first game of 2011. Given the weather in the last few weeks, the pitch is in good nick.

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “It was a fair result; you take positives, a clean sheet, but we can be better and we will be better.

    “I would’ve been a little bit happier if we had created a bit more and we’ll work on that this week.

    “We can improve, there’s no doubt about that. I was quite happy with the way we started the game. We probably controlled most of the first half. Having said that, we didn’t create enough. They had a couple of chances. I thought we played some nice stuff at times.

    “In the second half, we didn’t seem to get going. They had a few shots from long range.

    “I’ve managed to see the last three games. For the players we’ve got middle-to-front, we’ve not created enough chances in recent games, albeit apart from today against the top three sides.

    “It’s a point, it’s something to build on.”

    Hamilton manager Billy Reid:

    “Over the 90 minutes, I can’t argue with a draw. If anyone was going to win it, it was going to be Hamilton. We had more shots on goal, more chances. We more than matched Motherwell all over the park.

    “At the moment, we’re unfortunate to not score a goal. The ball doesn’t seem to be going in the net at the moment. We had plenty of chances, the ball was dropping and still not going in,” added Reid.

    “Dougie Imrie’s had a chance one-on-one at the end, he’s hit it just by the post, it’s the way it’s gone for us.

    “There were plenty of positives for me. Defensively, we’re now shutting up shop, we’re looking a lot more solid. There’s nothing in the games, if we can just turn them into victories then things will turn.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”26″]

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    Get 10% off your holiday this January

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    Make the most out of supporting your team and receive an incredible 10%* discount on any trip you make by mentioning the Motherwell FC Holiday Club when making your booking at your local Thomas Cook holiday shop.

    This way, not only do you save money but you also help your club profit from it, as the club earns a royalty from every booking made.

    Managers, players, staff and fans are all enjoying the benefits of the Motherwell FC Holiday Club. So if you have a business trip ahead or you just want to go somewhere sunny, remember to book with Thomas Cook Sport’s Holiday Club!

    Chief Executive Leeann Dempster said: “After a passionate and intense season, the best way to wind down a bit is by having an enjoyable holiday. And what a better way to do so than by helping out the club, and also receiving a discount for it”

    *Available until 31st January 2011

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    Fixture Announcement

    The SPL today announced new dates for all four of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League games postponed due to the severe weather and the League Cup semi-finals at the end of January.

    Wednesday 12 January
    Dundee United v Motherwell, 7.45pm

    Wednesday 2 February
    Motherwell v Kilmarnock, 7.45pm

    Tuesday 15 February
    Aberdeen v Motherwell, 7.45pm

    Wednesday 23 February
    Motherwell v St Mirren, 7.45pm

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    McCall unveiled as new Motherwell boss

    Former Rangers and Scotland midfielder Stuart McCall was officially unveiled as the new Motherwell boss earlier today. Here are some exclusive pictures from our friends at SNS.

    [svgallery name=”mccall301210″]

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    New gaffer keen to attack

    Stuart McCall insists he will bring an exciting brand of football to Motherwell after taking over the reins at Fir Park.

    McCall, who enjoyed a glittering playing career with the likes of Rangers and Everton, as well as a spell as Bradford manager, joins the club on a two-and-a-half year deal and has made no secret of his managerial philosophy.

    “I would rather win a match 5-4 than 1-0,” the 46-year old smiled. “I’m well aware that there are many different ways to win a football match – and it can be horses-for-courses to an extent sometimes – but I can guarantee that I will always send the team out to win.

    “My philosophy, like any other manager, is to try and win football matches, and I try to do that in an entertaining way.

    “In all honesty I came to the interview for the experience, having never been to an interview in my life – although obviously I wanted the job. After speaking to the club I was very excited about the opportunity, and I’ve nothing but praise for the way the club has handled the situation.”

    McCall’s first job will be to stop the rot of five SPL matches without a win for the Steelmen as Motherwell travel across Lanarkshire to face Billy Reid’s struggling Hamilton side.

    The new gaffer analysed: “The last few games have all been tough, and against teams high up in the table.”

    “Against Rangers, they were at their best and Motherwell were not; against Hearts I thought Motherwell deserved a point and were unlucky not to get one; and against Celtic I thought the lads had a little bit of a hangover from the Boxing Day defeat but improved massively in the second half.

    “There’s nothing we can do about previous results, but we will hopefully get back to winning ways against Hamilton.”

    Another important aspect of the former Scotland midfielder’s new role with Motherwell will be overseeing the squad as contracts and loan deals approach expiry dates.

    Alan Gow and Nick Blackman have deals which expire in January, while the likes of John Sutton, Stephen Craigan and Mark Reynolds have contracts which expire in the summer. McCall has conceded that he will be looking to weigh up the respective scenarios as quickly as possible.

    “I have a meeting with a few out-of-contract players over the next few days, and we’ll try and address Nick Blackman’s loan quite quickly,” McCall said. 

    “Obviously if we are to lose any players then there will be room move to move and bring in other players on like-for-like wages.

    “But I’m well aware of the parameters that I’m working with, which is great. I know the situation so there are no excuses. I’ll quickly assess the underbelly of the squad: the lads who haven’t been playing and the young lads, and hopefully we’ll find a gem.

    “But the squad, as a whole, has done very well in recent times and we will now look to kick on with the players we have.”

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    McCall takes charge at Fir Park

    Motherwell Football Club today (Thursday) confirmed the appointment of Stuart McCall as manager.

    McCall becomes the clubs’ 22nd manager, replacing Craig Brown who departed for Aberdeen three weeks ago.

    Commenting Motherwell FC Chairman Mr John Boyle said: “The Board are truly delighted to welcome Stuart McCall to the club and begin a new era for the Motherwell family. We are enormously grateful to everyone who applied for and advised on this crucial appointment for our club.

    “In Stuart we have secured the services of a proven winner with huge experience in the game and all of the attributes on our target list. He is a natural leader and has impressed us enormously with his thoughtful assessment of how he will go about the job.

    “Stuart will fit in well at Motherwell and will play an important role in all we want to achieve in building a modern club with family and community appeal. All Motherwell fans will wish Stuart every success and a long and happy tenure at the club.”

    New Motherwell manager Mr Stuart McCall added: “I am excited by the job and will give it my all. I know Motherwell very well as a club and have long respected what they are about. They have produced some special talent over the years and done so in an entertaining way. It’s a family club at the heart of the Scottish game and they are doing all the right things to be successful and sustainable.

    “I have inherited a good squad with a proven system for identifying new and young talent. I want to build on that starting today to ensure we compete for success in league, cup and Europe.”

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    Hammell excited about the future

    Motherwell stalwart Stevie Hammell is excited about what the future holds for Motherwell after a few words from Stuart McCall.

    The former Scotland midfielder, who is expected to be confirmed as manager on Thursday afternoon subject to finalising a contract, introduced himself to the squad in the dressing room at Celtic Park after the 1-0 defeat and it seems he is keen to hit the ground running.

    “Stuart came in and introduced himself after the game,” ‘Well’s left-back confirmed. “We spoke about the game and had a chat about things that we can be doing better – especially after the first half.

    “I’m looking forward to impressing the new manager, and that is what we all need to do, starting on Saturday with a win against Hamilton.”

    Celtic claimed all three points thanks to a solitary Paddy McCourt goal in the first half. The home side could have extended their advantage in the first period, as Gordon Young’s men struggled to deal with the home side’s fluid attacking play.

    However, the Steelmen were much improved in the second half and succeeded in restricting the hosts’ chances as the game descended into a turgid battle. There was even a late chance for an equaliser after a scramble in the penalty area, but the Celtic defence smuggled it clear.

    “The way we played in the first half I didn’t think we would have a chance of getting a point,” Hammell asserted honestly. “But we were much better in the second half and moved the ball much better.

    “We had a chance at the end which also could have went in for us, but that’s just one of those things. We have to build on the good things about today and get back to winning ways.”

    The match finished 1-0, with very few talking points, but Hammell found himself involved in some drama after being scythed down by Celtic captain Scott Brown, prompting referee Stephen Finnie to produce a second yellow card for the fiery midfielder.

    “It’s not as if I’m trying to get the boy sent off,” the 28-year old insisted. “I’ve cleared the ball up the field and he’s obviously followed through, but I don’t really remember much about the incident.

    “I don’t know whether it was a booking or a straight red; I haven’t seen it again, but the referee’s decision is final. The tackle certainly didn’t hurt, it was the fall that was painful.”