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    McCall furious after Buddies defeat

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    St Mirren defeat in pictures

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    Motherwell 0 – 1 St Mirren

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    John Boyle steps down at Motherwell

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    Sutton aiming to net new deal

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    McCall prepares for Buddies battle

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    St Mirren programme preview

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    Officials appointed for Saints clash

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    Supporter Questionnaire

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    McCall delighted with derby win

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    McCall furious after Buddies defeat

    Stuart McCall labelled his side’s performance as ‘unacceptable’ after watching Motherwell go down 1-0 to an energetic St Mirren side.

    Lennon’s troops looked the sharper of the two teams – although the game was a fairly ordinary affair – and the visitors grabbed the all-important opener in the final ten minutes.

    The ‘Well gaffer was at a loss to explain his team’s performance after two consecutive wins.

    “We got what we deserved – absolutely nothing,” the former Bradford boss proclaimed. “You could tell they were fighting for their lives, and they were the hungrier side. We played like it was an end-of-season game, I’m not sure why.

    “It wasn’t acceptable and they’ve let themselves and the fans down. Football is all about consistency and we have let ourselves down badly. We weren’t good enough.

    “I’ve told the boys – the result tonight hurts me more than the Rangers result did, because we didn’t seem to grasp that a positive result could have cemented us in to fourth place in the league. We’ve been outrun and outfought.”

    Despite a lacklustre performance, Motherwell could have, perhaps, nicked a result if referee Steve Conroy had looked upon a couple of penalty claims a little more favourably.

    Keith Lasley looked to be felled in the first half as he surged into the box, while Francis Jeffers appeared to be tripped inside the area in the second period.

    But the ‘Well boss isn’t looking for excuses – despite the winning goal also carrying an air of fortune.

    “People might say we had a shout for a penalty – listen, we didn’t deserve anything. We got the result that we deserved – we just need to bounce back on Sunday.

    “The goal was a good strike by Higdon, but it’s hit something on the pitch and bounced over the keeper.”

    Attention now turns to Sunday, and the visit of Celtic, who are in ominously good form at the moment.

    McCall acknowledges that a massive improvement on the St Mirren performance will be required to gain a result against Neil Lennon’s side – but thinks that the team might benefit from a lack of expectations.

    “I look ahead to that game and nobody will expect us to get a result, and hopefully that is when we will be at our most dangerous,” the 46-year old insisted. “We’ll be going in as massive underdogs but I know the lads will give it their all.

    “We’ve not become a bad side overnight, and I hope the lads can bounce back against Celtic.”

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    St Mirren defeat in pictures

    Pictures from the 1-0 defeat by St Mirren in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park.

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

    [svgallery name=”stmirren23022011″]

  • Archive

    Motherwell 0 – 1 St Mirren

    [tab:Match report]

    A late Michael Higdon strike saw St. Mirren emerge from a turgid contest with a vital three points in their fight against relegation.

    But that will be no concern to Motherwell, who struggled throughout, and whose best chances came in the form of two strong penalty claims which were turned down by Steve Conroy.

    In the end Higdon’s goal settled things for the Saints who were rewarded for a busy and determined performance.

    Danny Lennon’s side arrived at Fir Park knowing a win would take them a massive eight points above bottom-placed Hamilton – but, conversely, on the back of a run of nine SPL games without a win.

    ‘Well made one change from the side which battled to a victory over the Accies at the weekend, with Ross Forbes dropping out to be replaced by Chris Humphrey.

    Stuart McCall had previously suggested that the three games following the defeat at Ibrox would be ‘season defining’ – and the Steelmen came into the third match of the series with two excellent wins already under their belts.

    A timid opening was enlivened by a surging Tom Hateley run and superb cross, which was just cleared by the Saints’ defence – with claret and amber jerseys ready to pounce. The resulting corner caused all sorts of problems in the Buddies’ area, but they managed to smuggle clear.

    It took until the twenty-minute mark for another move of note to take place, with Paul McGowan firing a low drive from just inside the box. But it was comfortably fielded by big Darren Randolph.

    A low-key first half burst alive with controversy five minutes later. After a neat exchange of passes inside the box, Keith Lasley shimmied towards goal. After neatly sidestepping one challenge he appeared to be brought down by Saints captain John Potter – but Steve Conroy waved play on.

    That Motherwell penalty claim was followed by a decent free-kick from Tom Hateley – which forced a sharp sprawling save from Paul Gallacher. A header over the bar, moments later, from John Sutton illustrated Motherwell’s push for the opener.

    Both sides exchanged chances as the game progressed towards half time. A Steven Thomson drive was deflected towards goal via the head of Shaun Hutchison, forcing Darren Randolph to make a plunging save. And that was immediately followed by a trundling low shot from Jamie Murphy, which drifted harmlessly wide.

    Despite a couple of decent ‘Well chances over the course of the first period, the visitors finished the half in the ascendancy, and could have gone in at the break ahead, but Craig Dargo headed into the arms of Darren Randolph from six yards out.

    Lennon’s troops continued to make the running in the early stages of the second half, with Dargo coming close twice in the space of five minutes, once from a close-range header and the other from a powerful shot – which narrowly flew past the ‘Well near post.

    With St. Mirren looking sharp and lively, Motherwell needed a response, and Tom Hateley almost provided it. The Monaco-born full-back delivered a superb free-kick from the corner of the box, forcing Paul Gallacher to parry wide.

    Fir Park was up in arms again as Conroy, once more, denied Motherwell a decent shout for a penalty, as Francis Jeffers appeared to be clipped in the box by McAusland. The former Queen of the South man, on first viewing, looked lucky to escape.

    The Steelmen may rue penalty claims which were denied, and they paid the price when Michael Higdon opened the scoring.

    The big English substitute was slipped through on goal with a scything pass, and he dispatched a low drive past Darren Randolph, off the inside of the post. The finish was undoubtedly aided by a cruel bobble which saw the shot loop over the keeper’s outstretched palm.

    The home side finally injected some pace into their game in the closing stages, but by that point it was too late, and not even late efforts from John Sutton and Esteban Casagolda could salvage a point from a disappointing evening in North Lanarkshire.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Graham Barnstaple at Fir Park

    Full time – Saints win by a goal to nil, and sadly I don’t think we can complain too much, they created most of the good chances in the game

    90mins – Only two minutes being added on! Strange!

    83mins – Lost twitter again there…..over capacity (whatever that means). Sadly with only two minutes to go we are a goal down, Higdon scoring in the 82nd minute. Horrible bobble over Randolph.

    71mins – The crowd just been announced as 3613

    64mins – Jeffers goes down in the box. That looked like a penalty to me!

    59mins – Just about an hour gone, and sadly it is 60 minutes those of us here won’t get back!!

    55mins – The change sees Hammell at left back, Gunning moves to right back and Hateley into midfield, think I’ve got it all!!

    54mins – Another dipping free kick from Hateley beaten out by Gallagher, that’s been our only threat

    53mins – Lasley forced to leave field with an injury, looks like his ribs, replaced by Steven Hammell

    48mins – Yellow card for Lasley for a tug on Hugh Murray, that his seventh of the season

    46mins – Sorry – lost the signal over half time there!! We are back and so are the teams, with three minutes played already

    45mins – 1 minute being added on (unfortunately)

    41mins – another chance for Saints but Dargo’s close range header is easily held by Randolph who is well positioned

    35mins – Thomson’s shot deflected by head of Hutchinson Randolph pulls off a diving save to his right, comfortable enough.

    31mins – In-swinging Hateley free kick punched away at his front post by Gallagher, and then Sutton heads a cross just over

    26mins – Lasley barged over in the Saints box this time but once again no pen given by ref Conroy, possibly obstruction but a certain foul none-the-less

    22mins – Paul McGowan finds space in the Well box but shoots straight at Randolph who saves easily

    16mins – Dargo tumbles under the challenge of Jennings but penalty claims are waved away – looked a decent shout to me – dodged a bullet?

    10mins – not much happening, we’ve forced a couple of corners but without causing any real danger. Ball has been changed once as well!!

    1mins – We lose the toss, we kick off and we are shooting towards the preferred South Stand end which is empty tonight, Saints fans in POD Stand

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “They (St Mirren) came and showed the hunger and desire, you could see they were fighting for their lives and we just never matched that.

    “And that’s the worst thing that can be put at the team. I don’t know if we’re thinking that we’re better than we are but they certainly were first to the ball, won more tackles and just showed a greater enthusiasm and that’s not acceptable,” said McCall.

    “It was more like an end-of-season game from us, the way we approached the first half. It wasn’t acceptable.

    “The second half was a little better but not a great deal to be honest.

    St Mirren manager Danny Lennon:

    “It’s a very welcome three points at the end of the evening. We got a great response from Sunday (the defeat to Hibernian).

    “The way they come to work in the morning, their attitude is first class.

    “They deserved that, it’s been well overdue, for the efforts that the boys put in. The mentality of the boys tonight was second to none.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”40″]

  • Archive

    John Boyle steps down at Motherwell

    At this evening’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), owner John Boyle issued the following statement.

    It is 13 years since I acquired Motherwell FC, my hometown club.  There have been famous times and difficult times, but this club has remained a special part of my life as a supporter as well as its owner.

    During those 13 years, I have supported the many loss-making years and ensured Motherwell’s survival in some tricky, parlous times. I have seen that as my duty because I have been conscious of two things in the years since I acquired the club in 1998:

    • That I am merely a custodian of a club that this year is 125 years old. This club was here long before I was born and it must be here long after I have gone; and
    • Motherwell is a community club and, whatever the business documents and share certificates say, the club really belongs to the community and its fans. It always has and always will.

    I have decided to stand down as Chairman before the start of next season.  I will pass on control of the club to current directors who are working with me now on an ambitious new plan to allow wider ownership and involvement in the club for all who care about it.

    Since the new directors Jim McMahon, Derek Weir, Leeann Dempster and Andrew Wilson have been appointed over the last year or so, working with John Swinburne and Bill Dickie, it has been their intention to make the club less dependent on myself and I fully encourage these efforts.

    To this end, I will not ask for any payment to me or to my family for our shares in the club.  It is time for us to hand over the baton.  We have enjoyed our years as part of Motherwell’s distinguished history.  Now, we look forward to following the club’s progress with new owners, new ideas and, hopefully, new success as it celebrates its 125th anniversary and moves into the future.”

    Derek Weir, Motherwell Vice Chairman commented, ‘It has always been the Board’s intention that the club should not remain dependent solely on John Boyle’s goodwill and that the club should have a wider ownership and stronger financial basis.

    “John’s generosity in requiring no payment for his shares will enable us to realise these objectives and the Board will be issuing full details of this transition in the next few weeks.

    “No Motherwell supporter has ever been in any doubt about the passion and support John has brought to our club. During his ownership he has spent a total of £10 million supporting the club, and made frequent injections of cash from his personal funds.

    “We are very lucky to have had a person of his integrity, intellect and talent at the helm of our club for so long.  He will be missed but we will make sure, when the baton is passed, it is to a club that has strong, sustainable foundations.”

    If anyone is interesting in working alongside the club in its exciting new plans, then please contact Leeann Dempster on 01698 333333 or email leeann.dempster@motherwellfc.co.uk.

  • Archive

    Sutton aiming to net new deal

    John Sutton wants to help Motherwell make history – and then stick around to be a part of it.

    Recent wins against Aberdeen and Hamilton have propelled the Steelmen back into the top half of the SPL, a position from which Sutton believes ‘Well could challenge for a European spot once more.

    It would be an incredible fourth consecutive continental campaign for the club, and a new contract would see John Sutton be a part of it.

    “We’ve responded really well from the defeat to Rangers, and after a couple of wins we are now looking above ourselves – and a win against St. Mirren will take us into fourth place,” the striker noted.

    “The top six has always been our goal. If we can do that then you get to play the teams around you – and there is a great chance to get back into Europe.

    “It would surely be unprecedented for Motherwell to qualify for Europe so regularly.”

    The air of positivity undoubtedly stems from the recent two wins, some nice flowing football and the impact of new signing Francis Jeffers.

    Naturally, as a striker, Sutton is delighted to have the former Arsenal striker at the club alongside him – and to be a part of McCall’s attacking mentality.

    The ‘Well front-man continued: “Franny has been great since signing. From the first training session you could see that his movement is very good and I think we link up pretty well.

    “Hopefully the longer we play together, the more that will develop. We now have a bit of depth too, with Jamie Murphy playing behind the strikers. We also have Esteban looking sharp and Bob McHugh coming back from injury.

    “Everything is looking up for the club.”

    Like Jeffers, Sutton’s contract runs out in the summer and the 27-year old is keen to get the ball rolling on a new deal.

    He added, “My contract runs out in the summer, so I’ll be looking to get something sorted; I love it here,” the bustling forward confessed. “It’s one of those things you hope will sort itself if you can keep playing well and scoring goals.

    “But – with injuries and having a family – it is something that is in the back of your mind. I love it here.”

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    McCall prepares for Buddies battle

    Stuart McCall is desperate to claim his third consecutive win of a ‘season shaping’ seven days for Motherwell.

    ‘Well had endured a run of just one win from twelve SPL games before the success at Pittodrie last Tuesday, but after two wins on the trot the Steelmen are back at the right end of the table.

    And the manager now wants to make it three wins from three and consolidate the club’s poition in the top half.

    “I said, after the game at Ibrox, that the following three games would shape our season. We have won two of those three games and a win against St. Mirren is vital if we want to finish in the top six,” McCall rallied.

    “It’s such a tight league. You look at the St Johnstone game – which had 0-0 written all over it – and we lost to a soft penalty. Then we play well against Kilmarnock and somehow lose. Things can change so quickly in the SPL.

    “But St. Mirren will be desperate to bounce back. They will feel hard done by after their own defeat and the weekend and I’m sure the manager and the players will be looking for a reaction.

    “I know St. Mirren came here and lost 3-1, but we scored two late goals that day – and we are under no illusions about how tough the match will be.

    Steelmen fans have been delighted with the last two performances by their team; one display of flowing football to defeat Aberdeen and a gritty victory over Lanarkshire rivals Hamilton.

    It seems as though things are clicking into place for the new boss, climbing back into the top six in the past seven days.

    The gaffer continued: “I’ve had a great reaction from the backroom staff and the players from day one.

    “I tell the players to just go out and express themselves, but the more games they play and the more they learn about me the better things will get.

    “We are learning all the time – you need more than two months to make everything click in to place, but we are getting there.

    “You take confidence every time you come off the pitch with a win. But the recent games have gone – we’ll take the confidence and the things we have learned in to our next match, which is a very tough one against St. Mirren.”

    The ‘Well gaffer was coy on any potential new deal for striker John Sutton, whose deal expires in the summer.

    Sutton has been in superb form since McCall took the reins and the former Bradford boss cautiously admitted he would like to keep the former Spurs trainee for longer.

    “Sutty has done well – I’ve been pleased with him,” the 46-year old praised. “Not only has he chipped in with goals, but he’s a good type – a really good sort to have around the place.

    “We’ll be looking to tie up players in the next month, but I still need some time to assess everything.

    “Hopefully John will be one of those that we can keep here a little longer.”

  • Archive

    St Mirren programme preview

    The fifteenth edition of the Motherwell Matchday Magazine is on sale this Wednesday when St Mirren visit Fir Park.

    After back-to-back wins against Aberdeen and Hamilton, Stuart McCall’s men will be hoping to make it three from three but face a tough battle against Saints who are battling for their SPL survival.

    And the featured-packed, 64-page programme will again be on sale with all the latest from Fir Park with every reader getting a free Panini sticker album and packet of stickers.

    This week, Stuart McCall looks back at the two recent wins and accesses our chances against Danny Lennon’s men.

    There’s a fantastic 8-page interview with former Northern Irish International Steve Jones who talks candidly about his aims and objectives in his remaining few months at Fir Park.

    We have a ten-page section dedicated to our visitors, St Mirren, including a player-by-player account of the Buddies side. Peter Elder also takes us back through time to recall some of the good and, erm, not so good encounters between the sides.

    Alan Temple examines the battle between two clubs with Hampden demons to exorcise. The latest bout of Brainiacs is the remaining Semi Final contest between the young upstart, Jamie Murphy, who takes on the old fox Stephen Craigan. Who will get through to face Darren Randolph in the Final? You’ll need to pick up your copy to find out.

    And that’s not all… We look back at the 2-1 win at Pittodrie and the 1-0 success against Hamilton last weekend.

    The Supporters Survey publicised on the Official ‘Well website is available in hard copy as well, the latest commercial news as well as all the latest ticket information for our next six matches.

    The programme, priced at £3, will be available in the ‘Well Shop with sellers in and around the ground from about 6pm.

  • Archive

    Officials appointed for Saints clash

    Referee for Wednesday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with St Mirren at Fir Park will be Steve Conroy.

    Conroy, who has been a senior official for almost a decade, has been surprisingly absent from most top-team games this campaign.

    Indeed by the time he took charge of Motherwell 4-0 Scottish Cup demolition of Dundee in January, he had only handled one top-league game. Since then, he has had games at Kilmarnock, Inverness and Easter Road.

    Despite his quiet season, he’ll be a familiar face to most Motherwell fans having officiated three games last season.

    The first was Hibs’ 3-1 win at Fir Park in September which was followed by another 3-1 reverse, this time at the hands of St Johnstone on Boxing Day; incidentally, Jim Gannon’s last match in charge at Fir Park.

    His most recent was about a year ago, when he was the man in the middle for Motherwell’s terrific 3-0 win at Pittodrie thanks to a Lukas Jutkiewicz goal and a brace from John Sutton.

    His overall record in Motherwell games is a bit of a mix bag for the Fir Parkers. Motherwell have won seven, drawn two and lost eight of the seventeen games Conroy has taken charge of. Nineteen goals have been scored whilst twenty have hit the back of the ‘Well net.

    In those games, 40 players have been cautioned, fourteen wearing Claret and Amber, whilst three have been dismissed (Francisco Miranda of St Mirren in 2008/09, Scott Wilson of Dunfermline in 2005/06 and, most recently, Leigh Griffiths of Dundee in the aforementioned Cup clash last month).

    Conroy will be ably assisted by Charlie Smith and Ross Haswell with Anthony Law on fourth official duties.

  • Archive

    Supporter Questionnaire

    Following the recent launch of the Supporters Advisory Committee, the group have launched a survey designed to gather your opinions.

    A committee member said, “We wants to know your big picture gripes and ideas, views on reconstruction, safe standing, television and the like. In response the club have promised to be transparent on their position and policies in whatever we identify and where possible and appropriate, use their influence to push forward change.

    “Importantly though we also want to work in areas where the club have the ability to make the changes we desire. Stewarding, ticket allocations, pricing, initiatives, club policies, facilities, match day to name but a few. The list is really up to you to help us identify. These are really the most exciting opportunities for you the supporters and where we can most likely see some quick wins.”

    You can fill in the survey either online at the link below, in the pull out which will be in both the St Mirren and Celtic programmes or pop into the Chapman Building where plenty are available for uplift.

    CLICK HERE TO FILL IN THE QUESTIONNAIRE

  • Archive

    McCall delighted with derby win

    Stuart McCall was pleased to complete a professional victory against Hamilton – and insists the penalty which won all three points was just.

    Bustling John Sutton spun Martin Canning ten minutes before half-time, and the big English striker appeared to be dragged back.

    The 27-year old dusted himself down to covert the decisive goal himself.

    “I haven’t had a look at a replay yet but first look at it was that it was a penalty. I thought the defender pulled him to the ground,” the Motherwell gaffer recalled.

    “From my angle I thought Sutton had turned him and the ref had a decision about what colour of card. When it happened, I was certainly looking for a penalty.”

    If anything, the one-goal margin didn’t do justice to a calm, assured performance from the Steelmen. McCall’s side dominated and could have won by more against a fairly timid, defensive Hamilton Accies setup.

    But the Motherwell boss insist that the only thing which mattered was the three points as the men in claret and amber made it two consecutive SPL victories.

    “We said in the week that we would take a one nil from that type of game a derby produces,” McCall admitted. “Our record against them this season hasn’t been great – but I think overall their keeper has pulled off some excellent saves and ours has had nothing to do.

    “On chances and possession it was merited and hard earned win. It was what I thought the game would be, they came here with three centre backs and man marked Jamie Murphy. It was hard to break down but we had some decent passing moves.

    “The bottom line is a victory; we played far better against Kilmarnock and got nothing.”

    With Dundee United and Kilmarnock both succumbing to defeats on Saturday afternoon it was a fruitful afternoon for the Steelmen. ‘Well are now only two points behind fourth-placed Kilmarnock in an increasingly congested SPL table.

    And with his squad gradually getting back to full fitness, McCall and all Motherwell fans have reasons to be cheerful, and increasingly positive.

    “I think for the first time I have had players available which has given me a bit of a selection dilemma and I welcome that,” McCall smiled. “Humphrey came on and showed the threat he can be and it is nice to have options for Wednesday.
     
    “We need to go out and win the game on Wednesday [against St. Mirren] and put pressure on the teams above.
     
    “It shows how quickly things can turn round in football, but you can’t take anything for granted. I was the lowest I have ever been this time last Saturday. You have to look forward, and I think the players deserve a lot of credit for doing that.”