Pictures from the 3-0 defeat by Inverness Caley Thistle in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at The Caledonian Stadium.
These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.
Pictures from the 3-0 defeat by Inverness Caley Thistle in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at The Caledonian Stadium.
These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.
It has taken me a few days to actually get the time to sit down and type this email so apologies to those who like to read it so soon after the match.
It’s almost been 48 hours since the game ended and I am obviously very disappointed and frustrated at our lack of consistency. It is something which has plagued most of the teams in Scotland this season outwith the Old Firm and Hearts, but it still makes you scratch your head.
We prepared the players excellently and they knew exactly what was at stake in terms of where three points would have left us. Disappointingly, it never worked whatsoever and we were poor pretty much from start to finish.
I spoke both after the Celtic match and again during the week about consistency and how we need to stop being so up and down both in terms of performances and results. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and I can assure you there is no-one more frustrated about that than me. Thank you to each and every fan who made the long journey up there and I am sorry the trip back was probably a long one based on our showing.
But we have to get it out of our system, and quickly. We have got two very important games left this month; the first is this Sunday against Dundee Utd.
I don’t have to tell you, the fans, how important Scottish Cup games are for this club. Both financially, and from a professional level. I know it is 20 years since we last won a trophy and I also understand the significance of the opposition this Sunday to that Cup win in 1991.
I can’t tell you how desperate I am to give the club a repeat of that day in 2011. And, more importantly, I think we are capable of it. In saying that, Dundee Utd are a terrific side, particularly at Tannadice and we’ve already lost there in my time as Motherwell manager. But, we can win and I will be going all out to win. With Rangers, Hearts, Kilmarnock and Hibs already out – I am sure every club in the Quarter Final can see a wee opportunity for themselves and we are no different.
I hope as many of you can make it through to Tannadice on Sunday as possible. I know Motherwell have a tradition of taking large crowds in Cup matches so hopefully a noisy enclosure will help our players progress to the Semi Final.
Forever Claret and Amber,
Motherwell crashed to a poor 3-0 defeat at the Caledonian Stadium, blasting the race for a top-six spot wide open.
Shane Sutherland gave the hosts the lead midway through the first half with a blistering left-footed effort from just inside the area.
It remained that way until former ‘Well hero Richie Foran capitalised on some slack defending to put his side into a commanding two-nil lead with twenty-five minutes left to play.
Substitute Alex MacDonald rounded off the win with a third eight minutes later to give Terry Butcher’s men their first league win over ‘Well for nearly four years.
‘Well boss Stuart McCall made just one change from the side that beat Celtic last Sunday. Chris Humphrey had to be content with a place amongst the substitutes, his place taken by Francis Jeffers who played up-front beside Sutton with Murphy in behind.
Inverness came out the traps looking like a team who were desperate to bounce back from their disappointing defeat during the week. And they almost took the lead after just six minutes when, after Nick Ross’ teasing cross from the left, Richie Foran teed up Russell Duncan but the midfielders deflected low shot was expertly saved by the ever-dependable Darren Randolph.
Motherwell were struggling to get a foothold in the game so it was little surprise when the home side took the lead. Adam Rooney and Ross combined on the edge of the area before the ball eventually found Sutherland on the inside left channel. The youngster did brilliantly well to turn inside Steven Hammell before crashing an unstoppable effort high into the top left hand corner leaving Randolph helpless.
Inverness continued to attack, looking for a second and they almost got it when Sutherland got on the end of a Foran cross from the right, but his header dropped wide of the post with Hammell doing just enough to put the striker off.
After thirty odd minutes of Caley dominance, McCall’s men appeared to awake from their slumber and finished the half the stronger.
Ross Forbes put the away teams’ first testing ball into the box after 34 minutes and Ryan Esson looked far from comfortable when coming to collect, but he was bailed out by Iain Brines’ whistle, the experienced official spotting a push inside the six-yard box.
Four minute later, Motherwell cut Caley wide open when Keith Lasley rolled in John Sutton. With Esson rushing off his line, the big Englishman managed to slide and get a shot away but the Caley keeper did just about enough to block and the chance was gone.
Sutton was again on hand shortly after when he met a Forbes corner from the left but his looping header dropped just over the bar.
You felt then Motherwell had to score next if they were to get back in the game and, despite a decent enough chance for Francis Jeffers at the back post, Caley remained in the lead.
As Motherwell pushed and pushed for a leveller, Inverness were looking likely on the break and almost doubled their advantage when Ross latched onto a Lee Cox pass, but Hammell managed to scamper back into position and thwarted the midfielder with an excellent block.
However, it was a sign of things to come as Butcher’s men grabbed the vital second after 64 minutes. Nick Ross combined with Adam Rooney who managed to spring the offside trap. The Irishman shaped to shoot but pulled it across goal for Richie Foran who poked home from six yards despite the attention of Shaun Hutchinson.
It looked like an insurmountable lead but Motherwell could and should have made the last twenty minutes at least nervy for the Highlanders when substitute Chris Humphrey passed up a golden opportunity to haul his side back into the game.
Jamie Murphy’s high, hanging cross towards the back post fell kindly to the Jamaican-born winger whose shot was blocked by Esson. It rebounded back to 23-year-old and it looked certain he’d smash home but his effort was somehow blocked on the line by Ross Tokely; how much the veteran defender knew about it was unsure.
McCall continued to commit men forward and they were punished when substitute Alex MacDonald added a third only a minute after coming on. Foran was again involved, somehow managing to get a cross in from the left flank despite and that looked to have caught Gavin Gunning by surprise and his hesitation was punished by the Scotland U21 striker who ruthlessly slammed home from close range.
‘Well continued to press and Jeffers and Murphy both went close to grabbing a consolation but nothing was forthcoming, and the Claret and Amber men faced the long journey down the road knowing the fight for the top six will now, most probably, go right to the final day.
[tab:As it happened]
Alan Burrows at The Caledonian Stadium
Full Time – Inverness CT 3 – 0 Motherwell
76mins – Signal has gone – wish it had stayed off to be honest. We’re 3-0 down goals from Foran and sub MacDonald have put Caley out of site 🙁
Attendance is 3563!
58mins – Good ball from Murphy on the left flank just misses Jeffers as Inverness knock it out for a corner.
57mins – Saunders on for Hateley.
55mins – Humphrey on for Forbes.
48mins – Great chance for ‘Well at the start of the second half. Cross finds Forbes at the back post. Both his and Jeffers effort blocked.
46mins – Second half gets underway! C’mon the ‘Well!
Half Time – ICT 1 – 0 Motherwell. Inverness started better and got ahead. ‘Well battled back as the half wore on but Caley still lead.
40mins – Corner from Forbes is met by Sutton at the back post but his header is just over. Better from ‘Well though!
39mins – Another ‘Well chance – cross from Hateley is flicked on by Jeffers for Sutton but his half volley goes miles over the bar.
38mins – Neat throughball from Lasley to Sutton gives the big striker a half chance but his sliding effort is saved well by Esson.
34mins – Forbes free kick deep into the box has Esson in trouble but he is saved by the referee’s whistle after Iain Brines spotted a foul.
28mins – Foran cross from the left flank is met by Sutherland but his header is way wide. Hammell managed to put him off with the jump…
18mins – Out of nothing Inverness take the lead. Rooney and Cox combine to set up Sutherland on the flank. He cuts inside and smashes home!
GOAL Inverness! Shane Sutherland
14mins – Free kick by Forbes just misses Hutchinson and Sutton inside the area. That’s the first time ‘Well have been in the area!
13mins – Slow start to the game here. Game is being played in glorious subshine though… Makes looking at the laptop difficult though.
6mins – Ross cross from the right for Foran. Teed up for Duncan who struck a stinging low drive that is well saved by Randolph.
1mins – We kick off at ICT – Wee bit late actually!
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“We were so poor at the beginning of the game, with our possession of the ball.
“The weather was nice, the pitch seemed in good condition and was there to play football and we played the shape we had at Aberdeen to get the players onto the ball and to get the ball into the right areas of the park.
“But our possession of the ball was really poor. Then, in the second half, we lost two soft goals. From beginning to end, from back to front, we were so sub-standard.”
Inverness CT manager Terry Butcher:
“We gave the boys a bit of a savaging on Tuesday and they took that on board and said a few things on Wednesday.
“From that moment on, they knew what they had to do. It was a case of making sure everyone was totally committed.
“They showed that today and we could have scored a few more.”
The Supporters Survey, launched last month, will close tonight so don’t miss out on the chance to air your views.
The response thus far has been brilliant, with approximately 800 replies all detailing different views on the club.
A Supporters Advisory Committe 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.
A brave performance from the Motherwell U19s wasn’t enough to secure a point as Hearts ran out 1-0 winners at Bathgate today.
After a fairly even first half, Hearts came out the traps in the second half and within a minute had taken the lead through Jason Holt.
To compound matters for the Steelmen, Ross McKinnon was ordered off two minutes later for what was adjudged to be a two-footed tackle.
Despite being down to just ten men, Young’s men battled hard but couldn’t get the equaliser despite one or two wee half chances in and around the box.
‘Well, plagued by injuries and players unavailable, were forced into two changes from last week’s humiliation at the hands of Rangers. Liam Sloan and Bradley Halsman were injured and missed out, replaced in the starting eleven by Michael Lynch and Keiran McGachie.
Gordon Young had to do without Tom Bradley (First Team), Jamie Pollock (First Team) and Grant Brown (Injured) whilst he was unable to call on the services of some of his Under 17s players, meaning only two players made the bench – Chris Connor and Dean McLean.
‘Well started with a slightly different 4-4-2 with a diamond in midfield, Steve Howarth at the top playing just in behind McGachie and top scorer Lee Erwin.
However, it was the visitors who would dominate much of the opening thirty minutes.
Calum Patterson posted early intentions with a driving shot that flashed just wide of the post with Willie Muir at full stretch. Shortly after, Captain Colin Hamilton knocked a header narrowly over and David Smith’s fired a low effort straight at Muir as Darren Murray’s side looked to gain an early advantage.
However, for all their possession and half chances, the ‘Well rearguard rarely looked threatened and, indeed, as the first half wore on, ‘Well were gradually becoming more of an attacking threat.
The danger was coming from the right flank and with eight minutes left until the interval, ‘Well could and perhaps should have gone ahead. Erwin did well to win possession and he wasted no time threading a neat ball towards McGachie who had run the channel. The return ball across the face was a little over-hit from the former Stenny man meaning Erwin didn’t have a clean strike at goal and his effort was comfortably blocked by Hearts stopper Jack Hamilton.
Two minutes later, Josh Watt created space for himself on the right flank with a neat dash but his cutback looked dangerous only for the lurking McGachie to slip at the vital moment; the ball cannoning off him and dropping fortuitously in the hands of Hamilton.
Finely poised at the interval but a mad three minutes at the start of the second half would eventually decide the game. Inside the opening sixty seconds, Jason Holt picked up from deep and after bouncing a lovely one-two off a striker; he collected the return, opened his body and fired beyond Muir into the net for the games’ only goal.
The task of getting level was made virtually impossible when a frustrated Ross McKinnon was sent off for a two-footed tackle two minutes later.
That forced Young into a reshape with players asked to up their work rate and, to be fair to the young ‘Well side, they did and matched Hearts for the remainder of the half.
However, a man less killed the game as a contest as the Claret and Amber men were forced to contain their opponents and hit on the break.
Hearts almost doubled their advantage with seventeen minutes left on the clock when a neat corner by Jordon Morton presented Scott Robinson with a chance to strike from the edge of the area but the midfielder was unfortunate to see his stinging effort come smashing back off the crossbar.
Motherwell introduced Chris Connor in place of McGachie and the winger gave Motherwell some additional legs on the flanks and, despite some sniffs in and around the area, it just wouldn’t fall to a ‘Well player in the right area.
The whistle eventually blew and although the Claret and Amber men sank to their fourth successive defeat, Gordon Young would’ve been pleased with the reaction he got following last week’s humiliation at Murray Park.
Motherwell: Muir, Griffin, McKinnon, Murray, Lynch, Carswell, McDonald, Watt, Howarth (McLean – 82mins), McGachie (Connor – 74mins), Erwin
Subs Not Used: None
The Scottish Cup visited the Ravenscraig sports facility where kids from Muirhouse Primary were joined by a surprise guest, ‘Well boss Stuart McCall.
Pupils at two North Lanarkshire primary schools got the chance to hold the world’s oldest national football trophy – the Scottish Cup.
The famous trophy was on show at Knowetop Primary, Motherwell on Thursday 3 March before youngsters from Muirhouse Primary got the chance to get to grips with the silverware at the Ravenscraig regional sports facility.
North Lanarkshire Council’s football development coaches organised the cup visit with the SFA and ‘Well boss Stuart McCall was also on hand to give the Muirhouse kids some coaching tips and talk about his own cup experiences.
McCall said: “The Scottish cup is a special trophy and the kids will always remember getting the chance to see it first hand. Many will have seen it on the telly before but to see it up close is exciting.”
Provost of North Lanarkshire Tom Curley, a former professional player himself, joined the Muirhouse pupils at Ravenscraig for the special tour. He said “During my playing days the Scottish Cup was the trophy every player wanted to get their hands on.
“It is really exciting for youngsters to see the trophy first-hand and I would like to thank the SFA for bringing the cup to North Lanarkshire.”
The Scottish cup was first played for in 1873-1874 and was held aloft for the first time by Queen’s Park.
Caitlyn Redford (11) from Muirhouse Primary said: “I was really happy to see the cup and to get a chance to lift it up” and Scott Crosby (11) added: “ We were all really looking forward to today and holding such a famous cup was brilliant.”
Tom Hateley is desperate to use the momentum gained from beating Celtic as ‘Well enter the final stages of a competitive fight for a top-six spot.
Hateley, like many others in claret and amber, was impeccable against Lennon’s side last weekend and is now chasing consistency after ‘Well proved they can match the very best the SPL has to offer.
“If we can carry on our momentum from last week and hopefully get consistency in our game then we have the belief that we can go and win anywhere,” a confident Hateley proclaimed. “I don’t think its naivety – we believe that we can beat anyone.
“It’s fair to say that we deserved to beat Celtic last week. It goes to show what we can achieve on our day. We’re just not consistent enough – that is shown when you lose to St Mirren and then beat Celtic.
“Consistency is the most important thing in football, and that is what we want to achieve.”
The quest for that elusive consistent streak will begin as the Steelmen travel to Inverness to face Terry Butcher’s seventh-placed Caley Thistle side.
It is a game made all the more vital due to the fact it is the first of a series of encounters against teams who are also chasing a berth in the top half of the SPL.
Positive results in the next four matches, against Inverness, Kilmarnock, Aberdeen and Dundee United will see ‘Well secure a place in the ‘Championship Group’ after the split, and may even spark a chase for fourth place.
Motherwell’s 2009/10 Young Player of the Year continued: “From now until the split every game is massive. There are just so many teams in contention.
“It’s a important run of game coming up – we’ll take it one at a time and not get ahead of ourselves. There’s about eight or nine teams who will fancy a place in the top-six – we know how tight it is.
“That momentum has to continue going up to Inverness as that will be a huge game. If we can beat them – like we did last time in Inverness – then it will give us another cushion ahead of another team who could catch us.”
Monte Carlo-born Hateley also took a moment to praise Darren Randolph, who has surpassed John Ruddy’s record of 15 clean sheets in a season with his 16th against Celtic – and it’s only March.
It has been a remarkable achievement for the big Irish keeper, and makes a mockery of the fear around Fir Park at the beginning of this campaign that the excellent Ruddy would prove irreplaceable.
“You don’t get 16 clean sheets if you don’t put the work in,” Hateley praised. “It’s so good to know that you have a solid keeper behind you – someone you can trust to come and take crosses and make vital saves.
“Darren deserves all the plaudits he is given. I can’t speak highly enough of him.”
Saturday’s clash with Inverness represents the start of a run which will be pivotal to the success of ‘Well’s season, according to Stuart McCall.
The Steelmen face fellow top-six contenders Inverness, Kilmarnock, Aberdeen and Dundee United in the next four SPL matches, as the race for a top-half berth enters the final straight.
They also face the mouth-watering prospect of a trip to Tannadice for the Scottish Cup quarter-final on March 13th as ‘Well aim for a second trip to Hampden in 2011.
And McCall knows that the next few games could make or break this campaign for the men in claret and amber.
“It’s absolutely vital,” the gaffer acknowledged. “It will make it an exciting four or five games to go before the split, and if we can get positive results then we have an opportunity to get fourth.
“We’ve got five games before the split and they include Inverness and Kilmarnock away, and Aberdeen and Dundee United at home – then we go to Hearts.
“All managers will be thinking the same because down to St Johnstone they all think they can get a top-six spot, and rightly so.
The Caley Jags, managed by a former team-mate of McCall’s in Terry Butcher, have endured a difficult run of form of late, winning just two SPL matches in their last fourteen outings and coming to Fir Park on the back of a 2-0 home defeat to Dundee United.
However, the Motherwell boss is still extremely wary of the threat possessed by the side just four points behind the Steelmen in the table.
McCall continued: “We’re expecting a very difficult game. In one of my first games here we played Caley Thistle and they were unlucky not to be ahead after a good first half.
“Any team managed by big Terry, especially after a couple of defeats, will come out fighting and snarling but we’ve got to match them in the battle and play our football.
“The pitch seems to have held up well so I hope it will be a good footballing game.”
The Motherwell boss described his players as ‘buzzing’ following last weekend’s stunning victory over Celtic, but he has re-affirmed that he wants more of the same this weekend.
A lack of consistency has been a bugbear of McCall’s since his arrival, and it is something he wishes to remedy – starting in the Highlands on Saturday afternoon.
“The training has been sharp and everyone is looking forward to the next game,” the 46-year old insisted.
“After a day off for the lads, I had a meeting with them and said ‘that’s gone now.’ I want them to take the confidence and enjoy the slaps on the back, but we need to focus now on what will be a very difficult game in Inverness.”
The air of positivity around Fir Park is further enhanced by a squad which now possesses a healthy dose of competition, with the likes of Francis Jeffers and Stephen Craigan forced to battle for their place following the terrific performance against Celtic without their presence.
Also, with Stevie Saunders coming back into contention and Steve Jones relatively close to fitness, it seems as though the Steelmen will have something approaching a full strength squad for the race for the top-half.
“We lost four players over the winter period and I think people were getting in the team because of a lack of numbers,” McCall insisted. “Now we have options.
“I left Franny (Jeffers) out last week and Craigan was suspended. Saunders was out and he is coming back and Jones started training again this week – although Inverness will come too soon for him.”
“It’s a great problem to have and it is what all managers want for their team.”
Motherwell U19s will be keen to bounce back from their 8-1 capitulation at Rangers last week when the face Hearts tomorrow (Friday).
Young’s men have hit a difficult run of form after what was a promising opening half to the 2010/11 campaign.
That was demonstrated with last week’s defeat prompting Young to describe it as his worst moment in football.
Hearts, on the other hand, are flying high near the top of the table and although they are seven points adrift of leaders Rangers, they do have games in hand.
The Steelmen will also be keen for some revenge after Hearts ran out comfortable 5-0 winners the last time the teams met back in October.
The match will take place at Bathgate’s Creamery Park with kick-off at 12 noon. Entry for anyone wishing to go along is free of charge.