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    Scottish Cup Competition

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    2011/12 Season Start Date Announced

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    Super Sutton calls for consistency

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    Be a part of the Phil O’Donnell Dinner

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    A funny old game!

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    McCall delighted with Celtic win

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    Celtic win in pictures

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    Motherwell 2 – 0 Celtic

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    Celtic tickets sold out

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    Youths crash to rampant Rangers

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    Scottish Cup Competition

    The SFA are giving one lucky supporter the chance to win the Scottish Cup for the day & a pair of tickets to a quarter final match of their choice.

    The world’s oldest Association trophy could be making its way to your home, school, workplace or club very soon and you and a friend could be taking in a quarter final match of your choice if you are selected as the lucky winner. You’ll have to be quick though, the closing date is tomorrow, Wednesday 2 March at midday.

    To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize, simply log onto the Scottish Cup Facebook page at www.facebook.com/scottishcup and click on the Win tab.

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    2011/12 Season Start Date Announced

    The SPL Board have announced that the 2011/12 Clydesdale Bank Premier League Season will start on Saturday 23 July 2011.

    An earlier start date is an important part of the SPL’s strategic plan for Scottish football and should mean that SPL clubs involved in European qualifiers in July enter those games better prepared.  A July start date will also reduce the number of mid-week games in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League during the winter months.

    When determining the start date for season 2011/12, the SPL Board decided on a protocol that allows clubs to participate in summer tournaments, whilst also ensuring that all clubs and fans reap the benefits of an earlier start date for the season.

    SPL clubs can request that one fixture early in the season be postponed to take part in such tournaments. As an example, the SPL Board has given permission for Celtic to participate in the Dublin Super Cup over the weekend of 30 and 31 July.

    Click Here to read SPL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster’s blog.

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    Super Sutton calls for consistency

    John Sutton lashed home a brace to down Celtic and then demanded consistency as ‘Well chase fourth spot in the SPL.

    The 26-year old was superb playing as the lone striker, and gave Daniel Majstorovic and, in particular, Charlie Mulgrew a torrid afternoon.

    His two goals were the least the former Spurs trainee deserved for an afternoon of typical energy, work-rate and top class finishing.

    “It was always going to be difficult to play Celtic, with the run they have been on, but I thought we were better than them and fully deserved the points,” the striker acknowledged. “We now need to keep that level of performance up now.

    “As a striker you are always reliant on what is happening around you, and the boys were absolutely fantastic.

    “I thought all over the pitch we were sharper than them. We’ll hopefully keep that standard up, although every game is different.

    “The pressure is off you when you play either half of the Old Firm. You are playing a team which is expected to win and will come and attack you. The game up at Inverness will be different, but we will hopefully get a similar result.”

    Sutton notched his 10th and 11th goals of the season against Lennon’s men, and he hopes that the victory over top-of-the-table Celtic will put all of the talk about the defeat to St Mirren to bed.

    ‘Well were disappointing against Sutton’s old club in a 1-0 home defeat – but things could not have been more different yesterday afternoon.

    “None of us were happy after the midweek game. You have to credit St Mirren for how they played against us – they are no mugs, but we didn’t believe we did as well as we could,” Motherwell’s in-form striker conceded.

    “We made amends for that today.”

    The big striker, whose contract expires in the summer, was quick to bat away any suggestion that the Fir Park pitch had any bearing on the result.

    The Steelmen played some attractive football on the understandably weather-beaten turf, but questions persisted regarding the state of the grass – despite Motherwell enjoying a relatively unimpeded winter calendar, unlike many other clubs in the SPL.

    “The Fir Park pitch is only an issue if other teams talk about it. We don’t really talk about – it is what it is, and it is the same for both teams,” Sutton insisted.

    “We showed that you can play some really decent football on it, and if you play on it with the right mentality then the pitch doesn’t make a difference.”

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    Be a part of the Phil O’Donnell Dinner

    This summer, twelve men will spend ten days trekking Mount Cotopaxi in Ecuador.

    They will endure intense training and stamina-sapping challenges as they try to raise £100,000 for The British Heart Foundation.

    Undertaking this extraordinary expedition are Phil’s friends and former teammates Simon Donnelly, Jackie McNamara, Darren Jackson, Kenny Crichton, Alan Archibald, Willie Kinniburgh, Greg Anderson, Ross Anderson, Craig Hinchcliffe, David Rowson, Jim Paterson and Bill Leckie.

    To help raise this target, we need your support and hope you can join us on Sunday 13th March for a fantastic dinner/dance in the stunning Ballroom at Glasgow’s Thistle Hotel. A drinks reception will be followed by a mouth-watering three course meal. The Scottish

    The Sun’s Bill Leckie, compère for the night, will introduce renowned speaker John Gahagan and the musical talents of Second Hand Elastic Band.

    Phil O’Donnell tragically passed away on 29th December 2007 during a football match while playing for Motherwell FC. A post mortem examination later revealed that he died from left ventricular failure. Phil was only 35 and left behind a wife and four children. The nature of Phil’s death is the reason why the British Heart Foundation has been selected as the beneficiary charity.

    Please join us for a fantastic evening, celebrating the life of the man affectionately known as ‘Uncle Phil’.

    Tickets are £75 and tables of ten are £700. To book, contact Laura on 0141 533 7537 or laura@lftevents.com.

    Alternatively, you can show your support by texting a £3 donation.

    Text ‘Phil’ to 70007

    Text messages cost £3 plus one message at your standard network rate. From most users the British Heart Foundation will receive over £2.80 from each text donation received dependant on your network operator. **Donations from handsets registered in UK and Northern Ireland only.

  • Archive

    A funny old game!

    Football’s a funny old game isn’t it? I hope you are enjoying your night and I hope the team and the club have made you proud. You certainly deserve it!
     
    There are two main things I want to get across and they are both very important to me.
     
    1 – That win today was for Motherwell FC and absolutely no-one else. I was asked at the Press Conference, after the game, about whether Walter Smith or Ally McCoist would give me a text of thanks. Whilst obviously joking about getting a little more – a beer or two perhaps (?), I made the very serious point about the value of this win to our club. I am a former Rangers player and will, inevitably, be asked questions relating to Rangers by the press. I do my best to avoid them but I suppose it’s what happens. It’s what the media in this country do. But I really want to get across to everyone now that I am the manager of Motherwell Football Club and my only focus is to this club. It wouldn’t have mattered if we were playing Rangers, Hamilton, St Mirren or Stranraer today; I wanted to see a reaction from my players after the disappointment of Wednesday night and I got it. That’s what is most pleasing! That and giving the fans at Fir Park something to shout about.
     
    2 – The other thing that has come out of today is the need for consistency. What happened this afternoon was brilliant and we, along with you the fans, will all enjoy the win but I am already planning for our match with Inverness. We’ll be in first thing tomorrow morning and our total focus will be next Saturday’s game in the Highlands. We need to show a better level consistency! We’ve only lost two goals at home since I arrived at the club (to Kilmarnock and St Mirren), unfortunately, both cost us at least a point. These are the games that we need to work doubly hard to win as these are the games that will win us a place in the top six. We have Inverness and Kilmarnock away in March as well as Aberdeen and Dundee Utd at home before the split. In many ways, it’s in our hands. Take positive points from those games and we’re in with a real shout. Easier said than done, of course, but we’ll be working as hard as we possibly can all week with that game in mind.
     
    I won’t go over today too much other than to say I though, to a man, we were absolutely terrific and displayed a real gutsy and determined display. I said during the week that St Mirren out-fought us and I was incredibly disappointed about that; and I let the players know it. Today, I thought we out-battled Celtic and it proved crucial.
     
    Just finally, a big congratulations to Darren Randolph who I know believe has surpassed John Ruddy’s record of fifteen clean sheets by notching his sixteenth today. He was outstanding and deserves all the credit for beating an already incredible tally.
     
    Forever Claret and Amber!
     
    Stuart McCall
    Manager

  • Archive

    McCall delighted with Celtic win

    Stuart McCall described his pride after witnessing Motherwell’s best performance under his leadership, with a 2-0 victory over Celtic at Fir Park.

    ‘Well were the better side throughout an engaging contest, and could have actually won by more than the two-goal margin against a high-flying Celtic side.

    A display of energy, desire and purpose was a million miles away from the poor display against St Mirren in midweek, and John Sutton’s brace ensured the men in claret and amber came away with all three points.

    “I’ve come off the park and people are saying ‘well done’ to me. It’s nothing to do with me – it’s all the players,” McCall profusely praised.

    “I thought from every one of our players it was superb. I asked them at half time to keep up the endeavour and keep up the work rate, and every single one of them did that. They were outstanding and I’m a very proud manager.

    “It’s the best result I’ve had, definitely. Probably the best performance too – if you look at the side we’re up against and their record it is a great achievement.”

    It is a result which takes Motherwell to within two points of fourth-placed Kilmarnock, with games against all of their nearest challengers coming up in subsequent weeks.

    Therefore it is no surprise that, for the ‘Well gaffer, there’s no time for basking in the glory of today’s victory, with a place in the top six to be fought for.

    “I’ve told the players to have a good night but my focus, straight away, goes to Inverness next Saturday,” the 46-year old insisted.

    “Every manager looks for consistency and that is what I’m aiming for. There are still four other sides who will want to get fourth spot.

    “We have Kilmarnock and Inverness coming up in a few weeks and then Dundee United and Aberdeen at home – so it’s still all to play for, but that result can give us hope and inspiration for the future.”

    McCall was reluctant to single anyone out for special praise, but he did take a moment to acknowledge the performances of a trio of his star performers.

    John Sutton was heroic as he ploughed a lone furrow up front, showing typical drive and determination against the Celtic backline. He was rewarded with two expertly-taken goals to take his tally for the season up to 13.

    While the walking-wounded of Steve Jennings and, particularly, the superb Keith Lasley also caught the eye in a splendid all-round team performance by the home side.

    “I wish someone else had taken the penalty – Sutty’s agent will be looking for an extra £50 in the contract now,” the gaffer joked.

    “I’m pleased for every one of them tonight. A lot of players out there deserved ten out of ten but the captain Lasley could hardly breathe with his ribs’ injury and Jennings were both major doubts, but they played brilliantly.

    “But there were lots of heroes out there.”

  • Archive

    Celtic win in pictures

    Pictures from the 2-0 win over Celtic 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=”celtic270211″]

  • Archive

    Motherwell 2 – 0 Celtic

    [tab:Match report]

    Motherwell turned in a sensational display to defeat league leaders Celtic at Fir Park on Sunday afternoon.

    It brings Celtic’s 17-match unbeaten run to an abrupt halt, and catapults the Steelmen to within two points of fourth-placed Kilmarnock in the SPL.

    McCall’s side were ahead within two minutes, as John Sutton strong-armed Charlie Mulgrew and clipped the pall past Fraser Forster before rolling into an empty net.

    Celtic had plenty of possession but struggled to open up Motherwell’s make-shift backline and, in truth ‘Well had the better of the chances, with Keith Lasley and Chris Humphrey particularly prominent in an excellent all-round team display.

    ‘Well deservedly doubled their lead from the penalty spot early in the second half after the superb Lasley was clipped in the box. Sutton stepped up to smash the ball home and bag himself a brace.

    Darren Randolph deserves plenty of credit too, as whenever Celtic did manage to create an opportunity they found Randolph in simply imperious form.

    Motherwell made two changes to the side which were defeated 1-0 in midweek by St. Mirren, with Ross Forbes replacing Francis Jeffers and Steven Hammell coming in for the suspended Stephen Craigan, facilitating a move to centre-back for Gavin Gunning.

    Celtic replaced the suspended Beram Kayal with Song-Yeung Ki and brought in Anthony Stokes for Samaras, as Lennon’s side looked to maintain their mesmerizing momentum from recent weeks.

    The Parkhead side were coming into this clash on the back of 17 matches unbeaten, but it was Motherwell who flew out of the box with a blistering start at Fir Park.

    Within 45 seconds of kick-off the Steelmen signaled their intent, with Chris Humphrey chasing down a lofted Tom Hateley pass, nipping past a toiling Mulgrew, and having his low cross blocked at the near post.

    And just a minute later McCall’s men got their reward for an irrepressible opening period, and once again the chance was aided by indecisive defending by Charlie Mulgrew.

    The former Aberdeen defender, so impressive against Rangers, failed to deal with a hopeful looping pass, allowing John Sutton to bustle in front of him and round Fraser Forster before slotting in to an empty net.

    Naturally the table-toppers responded by throwing bodies forward in search of an immediate equaliser. Mark Wilson headed over from six yards, after getting on the end of a whipped Kris Commons delivery, in what amounted to the best attempt from the visitors in the early stages.

    Indeed, it is worth praising the way a young central defensive partnership, Gunning and Hutchinson, dealt with the threat of Stokes and Hooper. While a re-jigged midfield five were tenacious and energetic during frenetic opening exchanges.

    As the half-hour mark approached Neil Lennon’s men visibly tried to turn the screw on the home side. After a lucky bounce inside the box, Anthony Stokes should have made the score 1-1, but his tame low effort was saved by Randolph.

    And Randolph made another, even better, save moments later, as he parried a superb low shot by Scott Brown wide of the post. The shot, fired in from 25 yards, looked goal-bound all the way and it was a magnificent stop from the former Charlton keeper.

    After negotiating the first truly concerted spell of pressure from Celtic, the Steelmen almost extended their lead. A superb triangle of passing on the left flank between Murphy, Lasley and Hammell released the left-back, and John Sutton was a matter of inches away from getting on the end of Hammell’s delivery.

    Motherwell managed to retain their hard-fought lead through to half-time thanks to a clearance off the line, and Anthony Stokes fired in a dangerous cross-cum-shot.

    McCall’s men may have been hanging on a little towards the end of the first half, but the emerged in sensational fashion for the second half. They were almost 2-0 up when Shaun Hutchinson rose highest to crass a header against the underside of the bar from a Ross Forbes corner.

    And Motherwell did get their second goal just moments later after Keith Lasley was tripped in the box by Emilio Izaguirre. John Sutton stepped up to take the kick and lashed his effort straight down the middle to give Forster no chance and double the Steelmen’s lead.

    John Sutton was threatening to run away with the headlines from this encounter, but Darren Randolph was also putting down a serious marker for man of the match. The Irish keeper had to be at his best again ten minutes into the second half to turn away a dangerous low Commons free-kick – bringing his tally of top saves to three for the afternoon.

    The visitors threw on Juarez, Samaras and Forrest as they desperately chased a way back into the game, but Motherwell’s energy levels and organisation were prodigious and, approaching the closing stages, Lennon’s side had yet to really carve open ‘Well’s youthful backline.

    A curling effort from Kris Commons proved to be the closest Celtic would come to a riposte as the Glasgow giants visibly ran out of ideas as the match progressed – but that was, again, palmed away brilliantly by Darren Randolph.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Graham Barnstaple at Fir Park

    Full Time: Motherwell (Sutton [2]) 2 – 0 Celtic. Motherwell were simply magnificent this afternoon & deservedly beat the form team in Scotland!!!

    87mins: Motherwells defence have been unbreachable this afternoon, and there’s only minutes to go!! Well 2 – 0 Celtic.

    75mins: Jamie Pollock replaces the tenacious Ross Forbes.

    72mins: Champagne football from ‘Well, Hammell passes to Forbes, who dinks over to Hammell, back into Murph – but shot blocked by Sutton!!

    66mins: Young James Forrest on for Ki for Celtic now, While ‘Well still have original XI out there. Hope the energy holds up!

    62mins: Something of a lull in the play – which suits Motherwell just fine. Young CB’s have dealt win new Samaras threat just fine. 2-0 Well

    54mins: ANOTHER great save from Randolph. He deserves plaudits from today too, as he turns away a dangerous Commons free-kick.

    53mins: Celtic have brought on Samaras and Juarez as they chase a way into this game – but so far Motherwell have been simply brilliant.

    49mins: Lasley was tripped in the box. Looked a penalty from up here. Expertly blasted home by Sutton – straight down the middle.

    49mins: Sutton steps up………..AND SCOOOOORES 2-0 MOTHERWELL!!!

    48mins: PENALTTTY MOTHERWELL, moments after Hutch hits bar…………

    46mins: We’re under way again at Fir Park. Great first half from the lads. More of the same will do fine. Well 1 – 0 Celtic.

    Half Time: Motherwell (Sutton ‘2) 1 – 0 Celtic

    45mins: Looping cross to the back post comes to Stokes and his cross-cum-shot is cleared of the line. Hairy stuff here. Still 1-0 Well.

    44mins: Shot wide of the post by Celtic, harmless enough. Hopefully that’s the last of the action before half time!

    39mins: Anthony Stokes swivels and fires over the bar as Celtic push for an equaliser before half time. Still 1-0 Well.
     
    35mins: Sutton inches away from getting on the end of a Hammell cross after some superb build-up play. Well 1 – 0 Celtic.

    34mins: After expending a massive amount of energy on a heavy pitch in the first half, the game is slowing a little. Well still lead though

    27mins: Having said that, Randolph has to pull of two wonderful saves, firstly from a low Stokes shot then a Brown effort from distance.

    25mins: Celtic have had a lot of the ball and territory, but Motherwell have created the better openings thus far and deservedly lead 1-0..

    24mins: Great run by Murphy and his cross narrowly evades Sutton, before Humphrey fires wide at the back post. Well 1-0 Celtic

    19mins: Sutton is flagged for offside as he hares through on goal, rounds the keeper, and slots in. Looked tight, but can’t tell up here.

    15mins: Worth pointing out how resolutely a young CB pairing Gunning & Hutch have done. Long way to go, but great start vs Hooper & Stokes

    7mins: As you would imagine, Celtic now piling on pressure, and Mark Wilson heads narrowly over from a Commons delivery. Well 1-0 Celtic.

    2mins: Big John chases down a through ball, Mulgrew hesitates, and Sutton nips in to round Forster and make it 1-0!!!

    GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLL MOTHERWELL!!!!!!!!!!!! (Sutton ‘2)

    1min: We’re underway, and already Humphrey has had a bustling shot which was narrowly blocked by the Celtic defence. Promising.

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I thought from every one of our players it was superb. I asked them at half time to keep up the endeavour and keep up the work rate, and every single one of them did that. They were outstanding and I’m a very proud manager.

    “It’s the best result I’ve had, definitely. Probably the best performance too – if you look at the side we’re up against and their record it is a great achievement. I’ve told the players to have a good night but my focus, straight away, goes to Inverness next Saturday.” The 46-year old insisted.

    “Every manager looks for consistency and that is what I’m aiming for. There are still four other sides who will want to get fourth spot.

    “We have Kilmarnock and Inverness coming up in a few weeks and then Dundee United and Aberdeen at home – so it’s still all to play for, but that result can give us hope and inspiration for the future.”

    Celtic manager Neil Lennon:

    “They have had a lot of nice things said about them this week and maybe they were believing in their own publicity. By our performance, maybe we underestimated them. I didn’t sense that in the week but there was a lack of competitiveness about us and quality, we did the opposite to what we have been doing the last couple of months and to be fair to them they have been excellent so I won’t be over critical.

    “But it was poor. We were poor defensively, poor in midfield and poor going forward. There was nothing positive to take from the game.

    “There was no collectiveness about us, we were disjointed and the goals we lost were appalling. You can’t give any team cheap goals and expect to win games.

    “You can make up excuses for the pitch but it was the same for both sides. We didn’t adapt to the conditions and we were second best. It’s not a criticism I can level at the players very often but Motherwell were hungrier.

    “Any time we have had a poor performances we have bounced back pretty well and I am looking for a reaction now in the next nine, 10 games.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”41″]

  • Archive

    Celtic tickets sold out

    Visiting supporters should note that all away tickets for this afternoon’s game are now sold out.

    The last of Celtic’s 6,000 allocation was sold this morning. Fans without tickets are encouraged not to travel to Fir Park.

    Any away fan who attempts to enter a home area of the ground (Davie Cooper Stand / East Stand) will be ejected immediately.

  • Archive

    Youths crash to rampant Rangers

    Motherwell U19s were demolished 8-1 by Rangers at Murray Park this afternoon.

    Goals from Rhys McCabe, Andrew Mitchell and doubles for Dylan McGeouch, Kal Naismith and Kane Hemmings gave the home side all three points.

    ‘Well’s solitary goal came from Lee Erwin but it was a painful day at the office for the inexperienced Steelmen side who were roundly punished for any mistake during the ninety minutes.

    Full report to follow…

    Motherwell: Muir, Griffin, Murray (Lynch – 29mins), Sloan, McKinnon, Carswell, Halsman, Watt (Connor – 80mins), McDonald (McGachie – 74mins), Erwin, Howarth