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    January’s Goal of the Month

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    Job Done

  • Archive

    Dundee Utd in the Quarter Final

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    Satisfied McCall glad to be through

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    Stranraer win in pictures

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    Stranraer 0 – 2 Motherwell

  • Archive

    Stranraer vs Motherwell: LIVE

  • Archive

    Smoke bombs and flares

  • Archive

    McCall aims for professional job

  • Archive

    Saunders and Craigan called up

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    January’s Goal of the Month

    It’s time to vote for your favourite Clydesdale Bank Premier League goal of the month, with Sky Sports.

    Sky have selected their top ten goals from the month which are shown on their website for you to view and pick your favourite.

    If your choice matches the goal selected by Sky Sports pundit Neil McCann you could win a new Apple iPod touch 8GB and a pair of tickets to a Clydesdale Bank Premier League match of your choice.  Just go to their website and click on the Goal of the Month link to see the goals, and have your say.

    Closing date is Tuesday 14th February.

    http://www.skysports.com/football/scottishpremier/goal-of-the-month/

    Terms and conditions apply.

  • Archive

    Job Done

    Firstly, can I apologise for not getting my thoughts out to you yesterday after the match. As you may have seen, I was on Sportscene late last night and didn’t get home until the very early hours of the morning.
     
    One of the positives from emailing out so late is that I have had another chance to watch yesterday’s game again in full. When you get that opportunity, if often gives you a different perspective of events; taking out the emotion of the day.
     
    We fully merited our win and whilst Stranraer can be very proud of their performance, I don’t think we were ever in any real danger throughout the ninety minutes. Darren Randolph has only had one save to make and even that was fairly comfortable for him.
     
    On that subject, I would like to pay tribute to Darren and his goalkeeping coach Stewart Kerr. Yesterday was his fourteenth clean sheet of the season; he is now only one behind John Ruddy’s total of fifteen for the whole of last season. Speaking to people at the club, there was a fair degree of concern when Ruddy joined Norwich during the summer but full credit to Darren, he’s been excellent and proved a more than able replacement.
     
    Another positive from yesterday was the performances of our two newest signings, Gavin Gunning and Steve Jones. Taking everything into consideration, I thought both players added something to the team and hopefully, between now and the end of the season, they can continue to make an impact.
     
    We now face Dundee Utd in the Quarter Final which will, no doubt, be a tough tie. However, we’re shown our resolve in Cup competitions already this season and we’ll go there looking to progress.
     
    The major disappointment of yesterday’s win was the injuries picked up by both Keith Lasley and Steven Saunders. Our squad is already small and with Stevie Hammell already struggling with a hamstring injury, this is the last thing we need.
     
    Keith picked up a rib injury whilst Steven is feeling his hamstring. Both lads are very sore but we’ll have to wait until tomorrow before we can full assess the damage. I suppose the only positive is that we don’t have a game during the week so hopefully; with a bit of rest over the next few days, we’ll at least have one of them back in time to face Rangers at Ibrox next Saturday.
     
    On another issue, I am sure you will all have read that our search for a striker is on-going. What I will say is that Francis Jeffers is not, at the point of writing this, a Motherwell player. After being stung by the whole Mike Grella situation, we are obviously cautious about announcing anything about any player before we have the appropriate clearance and paperwork.
     
    I would like to finish by thanking all the fans that made the long journey down to Stranraer yesterday. I understand how financially difficult it is to follow your team, particularly at this time of year, so all credit to the 1,000 or so fans that made the trip on what is quite a difficult road. We’ve got a very, very important February and March with home games against Hamilton, St Mirren and Celtic coming up in a few weeks time. Keep at your friends, family and colleagues to join us at Fir Park as we continue to build Motherwell together.
     
    Forever Claret and Amber,

    Stuart McCall
    Manager

  • Archive

    Dundee Utd in the Quarter Final

    Motherwell face a tricky away tie against holders Dundee United in the Quarter Finals of the Scottish Cup.

    After disposing of Stranraer and Hamilton Accies respectively, both teams were eager to find out who they would face in the draw at Ibrox this afternoon.

    Motherwell lost 2-0 at Tannadice last month but will hope for a change in fortune when the teams are due to meet on either the 12th or 13th of March.

    Full Quarter final draw:

    • Dundee United v Motherwell
    • St Mirren v Aberdeen or Dunfermline
    • Inverness CT v Rangers or Celtic
    • Brechin City v St Johnstone or Partick Thistle
  • Archive

    Satisfied McCall glad to be through

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall was pleased with his side who overcame a stubborn Stranraer to book a place in tomorrow’s Quarter Final draw.

    Goals in either half from Steve Jones and John Sutton helped the Fir Parkers to the win.

    And former Bradford boss McCall admitted he was just pleased to get through the tie which looked tough before kick-off.

    “We knew it was going to be a tricky tie, I said before the game the most important thing was to get through,” he said.

    “We would like to have been better and made it easier for ourselves, but all credit to Stranraer. They stuck at it and made it difficult for us at times.

    “I thing getting the first goal was the key, if we had gone behind it would have been a really difficult today. The bottom line is that we are through to the next round and that’s what we came here to do. We have played better in the last two games and got nothing, the main thing is we are in the draw tomorrow.”

    Asked if he was surprised by Stranraer, McCall added, “No they didn’t; we have had them watched three times and we knew it would be a tricky one unless we got up a couple of goals early on.

    “They stuck at it, but we were sloppy in possession at time, and we made the wrong decisions at times. The second goal was well worked, but in general we needed to move the ball quicker. We thought they would tire but they plugged away and that is all credit to their players and manager.”

    The only downside to this afternoon’s match was injuries to Keith Lasley and Steven Saunders, who join hamstring victim Stevie Hammell on the sidelines.

    Lasley picked up a nasty rib injury following an accidental clash after just three minutes and Scotland International Saunders  had to go off with ten minutes remaining with a hamstring problem.

    A frustrated McCall cursed his luck and hoped a few days off would help some of the walking wounded make next week’s game at Ibrox.

    He said: “The only real downside is a couple of injuries, Lasley looks as though he might have cracked a couple of ribs, we hope they are only badly bruised and not cracked. Then Steven Saunders had to come off with a hamstring towards the end.

    “The players need a break, we have given them a few days off as we have no midweek game and hopefully they can re-charge their batteries. Then we look forward to going to Ibrox next Saturday.”

  • Archive

    Stranraer win in pictures

    Pictures from the 2-0 win over Stranraer in the Scottish Cup 5th Round at Stair Park.

    These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.

    [svgallery name=”stranraer050211″]

  • Archive

    Stranraer 0 – 2 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    Goals from Steve Jones and John Sutton helped ‘Well to a comfortable 2-0 win over Stranraer at Stair Park this afternoon.

    The Third Division side battled bravely throughout the match, giving a good account of themselves, but rarely troubled Darren Randolph in the visiting goal.

    Motherwell eventually took the lead when Steve Jones got on the end of a Steven Saunders cross to poke home from inside the six yard box.

    The Steelmen had to wait until the 83rd minute to confirm their place in the Quarter Final draw when John Sutton managed to slide home a low Chris Humphrey cross from the right.

    Stuart McCall made three changes to the side that somehow lost to Kilmarnock during the week. John Sutton and Tom Hateley both returned to the side after starting on the bench on Wednesday night. There was also a first-start for new signing Gavin Gunning who lined up at left back. Esteban Casagolda and Jamie Murphy had to be content with a place on the bench, whilst Stevie Hammell missed out with a hamstring injury.

    Motherwell started the game in a positive fashion but were dealt a blow as early as the third minute when Keith Lasley was grounded with what looked like a nasty rib injury. The influential midfielder managed another thirty minutes but eventually had to come off and was replaced by Jamie Murphy.

    Before the change, both teams exchanged half chances. Motherwell were the first to threaten when Gunning, Jones and Sutton all combined on the edge of the area to allow the experienced Northern Irish winger to get a shot in, however, it was comfortable enough for David Mitchell in the home goal. Tom Hateley had a couple of free-kicks, both comfortably saved by the Stranraer number one.

    Stranraer weathered the early ‘Well pressure and, as the half wore on, fought their way back into the game with a couple of efforts from distance. Steven Noble and Danny Mitchell both blasted over, neither effort really causing Darren Randolph any problems.

    The arrival of Murphy just after the half hour gave ‘Well an added spark and the former Scotland U21 hitman immediately won a corner. Hateley’s kick from the quadrant found skipper Stephen Craigan inside the area but his header dropped just over.

    Two minutes later, Murphy was again the creator when he teed up Steven Saunders, who blasted a thirty-yard effort narrowly over the bar.

    As half-time approached, Motherwell turned the screw and eventually took the lead thanks to the industrious Steve Jones. Scotland International Steven Saunders delivered an excellent ball towards the back post and, after dropping kindly for the 34-year-old, the on-loan Walsall winger poked home, despite the best efforts of Grant Gallagher on the line.

    Stranraer came out the traps in the second half and managed their one and only shot on target just after the interval. Nicholls picked up deep inside the box, but his deflected effort was comfortably stopped by Randolph.

    Steve Jones was keen to build on his first goal for the club and had a couple of efforts, but couldn’t add to his earlier strike despite some excellent marauding runs.

    Jamie Murphy’s pace was also causing problems in the home defence and, after getting on the end of a direct ball from Steven Saunders, almost doubled ‘Well’s advantage but was thwarted by the feet of Mitchell who got down well to block.

    Jones shot wide and Murphy had another effort fly over as McCall’s men searched for that elusive second goal. John Sutton almost provided it with fourteen minutes left on the clock when he got on the end of a terrific Hateley pass but, just as he was about to pull the trigger, Gallagher got across to block with a terrific tackle.

    Tom Hateley fired a free-kick straight at Mitchell and it looked as if Motherwell would struggle to get that killer second goal. However, with seven minutes left to play, John Sutton popped up to secure the Fir Parkers place in the Quarter Final draw.

    Jonathan Page, on for the injured Steven Saunders, started the move with a neat pass to Chris Humphrey who was in acres of space on the right flank. The Jamaican quickly hit the box before sending over a tantalising low ball that was begging to be tucked away. Former St Mirren striker Sutton was in no mood to pass up the opportunity, and he was on hand to tuck home his eighth goal of the current campaign.

    That goal knocked the stuffing out of the Third Division side and ‘Well could’ve, and should’ve, added some gloss to the win. Sutton again got on the end of a Humphrey cross, but his downwards header was well saved by Mitchell. Two minutes later, debutant Gavin Gunning almost got his name amongst the goals with another good run and shot, but his effort spun way wide and the Irishman will have to wait a bit longer for his first goal.

    Referee Charlie Richmond soon brought the game to an end with Motherwell comfortably in the next round. Stranraer battled hard and, at times, looked like a plucky side but the Claret and Amber men were never really in any danger and with better decision making in the final third, could’ve won by a more handsome margin.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Alan Burrows at Stair Park

    Full Time – Stranraer 0 – 2 Motherwell (Jones, Sutton)

    90mins – Two minutes of time added on here at Stair Park.

    87mins – Last sub of the afternoon for the Steelmen. Esteban Casagolda is on for scorer John Sutton.

    86mins – Motherwell almost make it three. Humphrey flights a ball towards the back post for John Sutton but his downward header is saved.

    83mins – GOOOOOALLLL Motherwell – John Sutton – Page plays in Humphrey on the right flank and his low ball is slid in at the near post by John Sutton… Happy Days!

    81mins – Couple of shots from distance from the home die but Randolph watches both go wide!
    80mins – Jonathan Page is on for Steven Saunders. Think the youngster has taken a knock…

    78mins – Hateley free-kick from the edge of the area is too straight and comfortable for Mitchell…

    76mins – Great move from Motherwell. Hateley dinks a lovely ball over for Sutton but he’s tackled just before he pulls the trigger…

    72mins – Hateley free-kick on the edge of the box drops a foot or so over the bar. Mitchell was scrambling but it was always going over…

    70mins – Two shots – Murphy and Jones – neither trouble Mitchell in the home goal. ‘Well need another to secure this I think…

    66mins – Another long bursting run from Jones. With better options either side, the winger shots harmlessly wide.

    64mins – Murphy gets in behind the Stranraer defence but his low shot is well saved by the feet of Mitchell.

    59mins – Fairly even stuff here at Stair Park. Still 1-0 to ‘Well though!

    53mins – Low shot from Jones drops wide of the post. He follows that with another bursting run and shot that sails over.

    47mins – Stranraer start the second half with a couple of shots. One deflected wide and the other from Nicholl is saved by Randolph.

    46mins – Motherwell get the second half underway…

    Half Time – Both teams are out for the start of the second half. ‘Well to kick-off!

    Half Time – Stranraer 0 – 1 Motherwell. ‘Well have made hard work – very similar 1st half to the last time we were down here in 2003…

    45+2mins – GOOOOALLLL Motherwell! Steve Jones! Cross from the right finds its way to Steve Jones via Sutton. The N. Irishman pokes home despite best efforts of D.Gallagher on the line.

    45mins – Right on half time, Hateley swings a free-kick into the area for Murphy to head over!

    43mins – ‘Well forcing a couple of corners and have a few wee sniffs in and around goal but Mitchell still not forced into a save.

    39mins – Hateley corner finds Sutton at the back post but his shot is blocked by Gallacher for another corner…

    34mins – Shot from distance from Steven Saunders goes a foot or so over the bar. No danger for GK David Mitchell.

    32mins – Craigan header over from a corner is closest ‘Well have come in a while. Poor stuff… Still 0-0 here at Stair Park.

    31mins – Motherwell sub – Jamie Murphy is coming on for Keith Lasley. Jones is going to LM whilst Murphy goes right up top…

    27mins – Shot just wide by Malcolm as Stranraer crank up the pressure. ‘Well have had a pair of bookings too – Gunning and Hutchinson,

    21mins – Stranraer fire their first real shot at Randolph. Noble fires over and, a minute later, David Mitchell does likewise.

    8mins – Neat move involving Gunning, Sutton and Jones sees the latter flash a low shot at goal which is comfortable for David Mitchell…

    4mins – Actually, somehow, he’s come back on. He looks in some distress though. Subbies are warming up!

    3mins – Keith Lasley is down injured for ‘Well… He looks in trouble! Indeed, he’s having to come off!

    1mins – Stranraer to kick-off!

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “We knew it was going to be a tricky tie, I said before the game the most important thing is to get through. We would liked to have better and made it easier for ourselves, but all credit to Stranraer the stuck at it and made it difficult for us at times.

    “I thing getting the first goal was the key, if we had gone behind it would have been a really difficult today. The bottom line is we are through to the next round and that’s what we came here to do. We have played better in the last two games and got nothing, the main thing is we are in the draw tomorrow.

    “The downside is a couple of injuries, Lasley looks as though he might have cracked a couple of ribs, we hope they are only badly bruised and not cracked. Then Steven Saunders had to come off with a hamstring towards the end.

    “The players need a break, we have given them a few days off as we have no midweek game and hopefully they can re-charge their batteries. Then we look forward to going to Ibrox next Saturday.”

    Stranraer manager Keith Knox:

    Coming Soon

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”34″]

  • Archive

    Stranraer vs Motherwell: LIVE

    Live twitter updates from Stair Park as Motherwell take on Stranraer in the Scottish Cup Fifth Round.

    http://twitter.com/#!/MotherwellFC

  • Archive

    Smoke bombs and flares

    Ahead of this weekend’s Scottish Cup card, Strathclyde Police is offering the following guidance regarding smoke bombs and flares.

    Is it illegal to attempt to enter a sporting ground in possession of a flare or a smoke bomb during the designated period of a match.

    It is also in the Ground Regulations of the Scottish Football Association, Scottish Football League and Scottish Premier League to be in possession of such a smoke bomb or flare

    Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Scottish Cup fifth round ties, Chief Superintendent Andy Bates said:  “Over recent weeks, Strathclyde Police has seen more of these flares and smoke bombs set off at football matches. 

    “They represent a significant risk to the safety of those attending the match which is why the law regarding them clearly states that possession of these articles while trying to enter or within the stadium is an offence.

    “This weekend, we will have trained police dogs inside and outside of various stadiums. Anyone found in possession of a flare or a smoke bomb will be arrested.

    “My message is absolutely clear – There is no place for smoke bombs or flares at stadiums and football matches”

    Derek Kirkwood, Head of Security Operations, Scottish FA added: “Traditionally, Scotland has not had a culture of flares and smoke bombs being set-off in football stadiums. Unfortunately, in recent months the use of them has become more prevalent.

    “It is important that supporters heed the warning from Strathclyde Police this Scottish Cup weekend and at all games in the future. The safety and enjoyment of supporters on matchdays is paramount.”

    Head of Safety at Motherwell FC, Alan Marshall, concluded, “We are very keen to provide an enjoyable atmosphere at games but the threat posed from smoke bombs and flares is significant.

    “We have already had numerous instances this season, both at Fir Park and at away grounds, and we would plead with our supporters not to bring them to games.”

  • Archive

    McCall aims for professional job

    Stuart McCall insists that there will be no complacency as his side head to the south west coast for a banana-skin tie with Stranraer on Saturday.

    Hibs fell to lower league opposition in the last round, while the likes of St. Mirren and Dundee United had to go to replays. The Motherwell boss is determined the same fate will not befall his side against Third Division Stranraer.

    [onlymembers]“We’re travelling overnight and doing everything correctly because we know that we’ve got everything to lose; it’s role-reversal from last Sunday against Rangers. People will be expecting us to run away with the match,” McCall, a three-time Scottish Cup winner with Rangers, revealed.

    “The pitch and conditions could be a bit of a leveller, but if my players are at their best and we play like we have done in the last two games then I’m confident we’ll get the win.

    “You only have to look at the last round to know how tough the match will be. If we don’t approach the game correctly we could have problems.

    “Berwick gave Celtic a serious test, and Stranraer are above Berwick. So we know this could be a very tricky match.”

    McCall admitted that there is added significance to the Scottish Cup for his players, and for Motherwell Football Club as a whole.

    ‘Well narrowly missed out on a place in the Co-operative Insurance Cup final last week but the Hampden experience – for players and fans alike – has only served to whet the appetite for more.

    “The Motherwell fans really take to the Scottish Cup, and it’s great that we will be taking a big support to Stranraer.” McCall praised.

    “If we can get through Saturday’s match then we are only one game away from getting back to Hampden. That is a massive incentive for the younger lads and the senior pros.

    “A good cup run just creates a great buzz; you could see that at Hampden last week. The fans were fantastic and we’d like to get there again.”

    Away from Saturday’s tie, the ‘Well gaffer was in a coy mood when discussing the club’s link, this morning, with former Everton and Arsenal striker Francis Jeffers.

    Reports suggested that Motherwell are close to agreeing term with the 30-year old, but McCall insists that he hasn’t spoken to Jeffers – although he is keeping his options open.

    “I’ll be honest; my brother-in-law down south has texted me about a hundred names lately, and it was Francis Jeffers last night – but I have no idea where it has come from,” the former Everton midfielder admitted.

    “Francis is a free agent and I’m sure his name will have been put around to a lot of clubs, but at this moment there’s nothing happening and our focus is solely on the cup tie.

    “I thought the other night (1-0 defeat to Kilmarnock) showed that we could have done with getting another striker in, but unfortunately, on deadline day, we didn’t manage to do that. We’re still working hard, but obviously options will be few and far between now and we need to make sure they are good enough to improve the squad.”[/onlymembers]

  • Archive

    Saunders and Craigan called up

    ‘Well defensive duo Steven Saunders and Stephen Craigan will be in International action next midweek.

    Saunders, who has already picked up a full Scotland cap when he appeared as a second half substitute against the Faroe Islands recently, will rejoin the U21s who have a squad gathering and two closed-door bounce games.

    Stephen Craigan is set to create another milestone if he picks up his 53rd cap for Northern Ireland when they take on Scotland in the Carling Nations Cup in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.

    Should the skipper play, it will be the 50th time he has appeared in the green of Northern Ireland whilst playing for Motherwell.