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    McCall desperate for return to form

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    Officials appointed for Killie clash

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    MST: Cup Final Fans Forum

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    McCall angry with United loss

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    Dundee Utd defeat in pictures

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    Dundee Utd 4 – 0 Motherwell

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    Kilmarnock Hospitality

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    Cup Final Ticket Update

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    Hutchinson hoping for fresh ‘Well

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    McCall wary of Terrors backlash

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    McCall desperate for return to form

    Stuart McCall has set his sights on recovering from a miserable seven days and starting to build some momentum ahead of the Scottish Cup final.

    The Steelmen have suffered consecutive heavy defeats in the SPL, shipping five at home to Rangers and then four on a miserable jaunt to Tayside.

    But the ‘Well boss reckons Wednesday’s encounter against Kilmarnock is the perfect opportunity to tighten up at the back and return to winning ways ten days before the club’s biggest match in 20 years.

    “We got into the top six by finishing sixth; meaning that over the course of the season there has been five clubs better than us. So, theoretically, the remaining matches were going to be difficult,” McCall conceded. “You can add the tiredness of the lads, having played so many games, into that. But the last two games, and the goals against, have been disappointing.

    “From a defensive point of view we have leaked too many goals recently, and we will look to remedy that. But the bottom line is; if we can go into the Cup final with a fully fit squad, with recharged lads who are ready to give one last push, then that is what we must aim for.

    “As much as we talk about the top six – and we are delighted to be there – when you have a Cup final to look forward to that is the be-all and end-all.”

    The former Bradford boss was also candid enough to admit that catching Killie in the race for fifth spot in the SPL will be a tough assignment. Motherwell would have to beat the Ayrshire side and then get a result at Celtic Park, while hoping Killie lose at home to Rangers.

    McCall is refusing to give up on that aim, but is more concerned with getting a good result on the board ahead of the final – especially against a Kilmarnock side who ‘robbed’ Motherwell on their last visit to Lanarkshire.

    The former Everton and Rangers midfielder continued: “It will be difficult. If we do beat Kilmarnock then we will need a point on the last day of the season at Celtic Park – and that’s surmising Kilmarnock lose to Rangers – so that’s a huge ask.

    “Our main focus is to put a really strong performance in against Kilmarnock and get a good result. Look at the performance Stoke put in against Arsenal just before their Cup final (a 3-1 win) and that is the type of performance I want, to build momentum and build confidence.

    “We played really well against them here last time and got beat 1-0 – in fact, we were robbed. There’s no doubt about that. I feel we owe them a wee bit of revenge; we didn’t take our chances and their keeper played well.”

    The Motherwell boss also took a moment with the assembled press to dismiss any complaints over his side’s performance against Rangers recently, namely from Celtic boss Neil Lennon.

    After the Hoops’ 2-0 victory at Rugby Park, Lennon asserted: “We need teams to compete against Rangers, and there hasn’t been much evidence of that in the last two matches.”

    The first of those ‘last two matches’ was Rangers’ 5-0 win over Motherwell, and the ‘Well boss certainly doesn’t believe his team lacked a desire to compete.

    “I’ve not taken a lot of notice of it,” said McCall. “What I would say is anyone who was at our game against Rangers would have seen the team we put out; we put out a side which could be considered our strongest eleven.

    “Anyone who was at that game knows how well we played in the first half, and I was disappointed to go in behind at the break. In the second half, yes, we wilted, but that was as much to do with Rangers getting the second goal and getting the confidence.

    “If anyone thinks I want to send a team out to lose any matches then they don’t know me. Do you think we wanted to get beat 5-0? Of course not!”

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    Officials appointed for Killie clash

    Referee for tomorrow’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Kilmarnock at Fir Park is Crawford Allan.

    It will be Crawford’s third Motherwell game of the current campaign after previously taking charge of the 4-0 destruction of St Johnstone in November of last year and the narrow 1-0 win over Hamilton Accies three months ago.

    He is also no stranger to the Steelmen or Fir Park having overseen two games here last season too.

    He was the man in the middle for the 3-1 success early in Jim Gannon’s reign when John Sutton, Ross Forbes and Shaun Hutchinson gave the ‘Well all three points over tonight’s opponents, Kilmarnock.

    Some three months later he officiated the 1-1 draw with Aberdeen when Gary McDonald, who would later be ordered off, cancelled out a Lukas Jutkiewicz opener.

    Tragically, Allan took charge of the ‘Well game on the 29th December 2007, forever etched in history as the date when Phil O’Donnell tragically passed away in the 5-3 victory over Dundee United.

    Phil’s death had a profound effect on the whistler, a Grade 1 official for ten seasons, but he won heartfelt praise for the way he handled what was an extremely difficult situation and his sensitive approach is and was appreciated by everyone at Motherwell Football Club.

    In another twist of fate, Allan is only one of two referees to have ever refereed a Motherwell away game at Fir Park as the Steelmen faced hosts Gretna during the 2007/2008 campaign.

    His record in charge of the ‘Well is a fairly decent one, with the Fir Parkers winning five and drawing three of the eight games in total. In those games, 23 players have seen yellow, ten in Claret and Amber, whilst three have been sent for an early bath.

    Allan will be ably assisted by Andrew McWilliam and Stephen Allan with John Beaton on fourth official duties.

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    MST: Cup Final Fans Forum

    As Motherwell fans prepare for the Cup Final they have a great opportunity to hear some of the 1991 cup heroes at a Fans’ Forum in the Cooper Suite tomorrow.

    The chance to celebrate a trip to the Scottish Cup final comes all to rarely for followers of the Steelmen and the Supporters Trust has organised a couple of functions as the excitement builds towards 21 May.

    The first of these is a ’91 Fans’ Forum when we can celebrate (again!) the return of the Scottish Cup to Motherwell since the first triumph in 1952.  After a wait of almost forty years Tommy McLean’s team beat Dundee United in a classic final.  It will be a privilege to hear the thoughts of some of the players who provided Motherwell fans with a day they will never forget.

    The evening will be compered by Tam Cowan.  He’s a season ticket holder, Daily Record columnist and co-host of Off the Ball.  He’s sure to deliver the right tone for the night and provide keep proceedings moving on with a smile.

    Stevie Kirk played over 300 times in claret and amber and has the honour of scoring the winning goal in that final.  His links with the club remains strong and his tales from behind the scenes are very entertaining.

    Chris McCart spent twelve seasons at Fir Park and made just under 300 appearances.  He returned to the club as part of Eric Black’s backroom staff and remained as youth coach from 1999 until 2008 when he moved to Parkhead.  He has always been a willing supporter and is always welcome at Fir Park.

    Tom Boyd became the second Motherwell captain to lift the old trophy, following in the steps of Willie Kilmarnock.  He’s another who always finds the doors at Fir Park open and he makes a point of supporting our events whenever possible.  Tom made over 250 appearances for us between 1982 and his departure in 1991.

    Update: Tommy McLean has agreed to appear and will join the three players listed above.

    The doors and the bar will be open from 7pm.  Entry is only £3 (free for Trust members) and fans will be able to join on the night.

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    McCall angry with United loss

    Stuart McCall was far from happy with his team after the 4-0 capitulation at Tannadice this afternoon.

    Although the Fir Parkers were missing experienced campaigners like Stephen Craigan, Stevie Hammell, Keith Lasley and John Sutton, there were still plenty of familiar faces in the starting line-up.

    It was a poor afternoon for just about everyone in white and McCall rued the mistakes that gifted the home side easy goals.

    “No matter what team you put out you cannot defend like we did today,” said a frustrated ‘Well boss.

    “No disrespect to United but none of their goals were clinical they all came from defensive lapses. We can’t afford to defend like that regardless of who is playing; one or two of them appeared to have an eye on the Cup Final but we can’t have that.

    “This was always going to be a very difficult game but we badly needed to rest players. Today’s result makes Wednesday night a really big game for us now; we need to put in a performance, particularly defensively.”

    McCall was also conscious of what a run of poor form may do to the confidence of his side.

    The Steelmen have lost twelve goals in the last three matches and the former Bradford boss has asked his players to respond, starting with Kilmarnock at Fir Park this midweek.

    He added, “We talked about that (confidence) in the dressing room and we need to look to Wednesday and get a result.

    “It is up to us to get the heads lifted and get the boys up for it. From then we will see what next Sunday brings.”

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    Dundee Utd defeat in pictures

    Pictures from the 4-0 defeat by Dundee Utd in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Tannadice.

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

    [svgallery name=”dundeeutd070511″]

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    Dundee Utd 4 – 0 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    A much-changed Motherwell crashed to a disappointing 4-0 defeat at Tannadice this afternoon.

    The Steelmen posted five changes from last weekend but found a United side in little mood for mercy; racing into a two goal lead at the interval courtesy of a Jon Daly brace.

    The Irishman completed his hat-trick after half-time before Keith Watson added a fourth just before full-time.

    It was a poor day at the office for McCall’s men; the Motherwell manager far from happy afterwards and even threatened Cup Final places if performances failed to improve.

    McCall stuck with the policy of resting players ahead of that date with Celtic on May 21st as his Steelmen side showed five changes from the team that lost heavily to Rangers seven days ago. Ross Forbes, Shaun Hutchinson, Tom Hateley, Chris Humphrey and 17-year-old Stuart Carswell came in, replacing Stephen Craigan, Keith Lasley, John Sutton, Steve Jones and Stevie Hammell.

    It was a quiet, typically end-of-season opening to the match, only interrupted by Johnny Russell on the 16th minute mark, the Scotland U21 star curling a beautiful left-foot volley just over the top after a free-flowing United move down the left side. Houston’s men followed that with a low shot by Morgaro Gomis that was expertly turned away by Darren Randolph with the rebound blazed over, seconds later, by Craig Conway.

    The home side did eventually take the lead nine minutes before the half-time interval. Ross Forbes’ foul, which also brought about the first caution of the afternoon, allowed Paul Dixon to flight a cross towards the back post. Jon Daly won the header and it somehow sneaked between Randolph and the right hand upright for 1-0.

    Seven minutes later and it went from bad to terrible for ‘Well as United, and Daly, grabbed the second of the match. Garry Kenneth was afforded too much time to break forward with the ball. After crossing the half-way line, he slid a neat pass to the Irishman who created space for himself between Gavin Gunning and Hutchinson and smashed past a helpless Randolph.

    It looked at half-time as if that may well be that but if there was any shred of doubt, that was extinguished just four minutes into the second period when that man Daly grabbed his hat-trick. A ball into the box flew over the head of Gunning allowing the former Stockport man in. After controlling it nearly on his chest, he smashed it low past Randolph from twelve yards. Game, set and match!

    Motherwell rarely threatened in truth; Chris Humphrey providing the only real spark with a run and shot that was saved by Pernis at the second attempt. Youngster Carswell, who had an industrious second half, also came close with a header from a Hateley corner that looked to come off the frame of the goal but it was a fairly comfortable afternoon for the Tangerine rearguard.

    United could have extended their lead even further when Daly again came close, firing over from distance then hitting the outside of the post with a clever header.

    The hosts added insult to injury with a fourth on the stroke of full-time, Keith Watson’s low pass-cum-shot somehow trickling into the net after substitute Andis Shala’s fresh air swing deceived Randolph.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Graham Barnstaple @ Tannadice

    Full-time: Game over thankfully, not our finest afternoon…

    90mins – Only 2 minutes being added on thankfully!!

    88mins – GOAL – 0-4 Randolph saves from Goodwillie and from corner we fail to clear and Shala rolls in from 6 yards out.

    85mins – With five to go Management team still working hard to get their side playing despite the score line.

    81mins – Jeffers shown yellow for a show of frustration as the ball runs out for a goal kick.

    80mins – No more than a hat trick for Daly as he is replaced by Andis Shala.

    78mins – Steve Jones on for Humphrey.

    70mins – Turn and shot from edge of the box from Jeffers but ball ends up wrong side of the post.

    65mins – Attendance is 5951 this afternoon – not a good one for the small band of Well fans (250 or so) who have made the journey up.

    63mins – Double sub for United – D Robertson and Buaben on and S Robertson and Russell off.

    62mins – Stephen Craigan on for Maurice Ross.

    53mins – Gary Smith on as sub for Ross Forbes.

    49mins – GOAL – Hat-trick for Daly, he fires in from 12 yards out after Gunning had misjudged a ball into the box – not looking good!

    45mins – Game back underway – no changes in either side.

    Half time – 2-0 United, and sadly it is no more than they deserve, Pernis has only had a couple of crosses to palm out so far.

    43mins – GOAL – 2-0 United, Daly turn and shot from about 15 yards out,it was all a bit too easy I’m afraid.

    36mins – GOAL – 1-0 United – From the free kick Jon Daly scores with a header at the back post.

    35mins – Yellow for Forbes for a foul on Gomis.

    24mins – Gomis run from midfield ends with a shot that is palmed away by Randolph in dramatic fashion, then Conway blasts over from 18 yards.

    16mins – Russell a bit closer this time with a volley bending just over for a Daly cross from the left.

    14mins – First shot of game from Jonny Russell which sails miles over without troubling Randolph.

    10mins – In and the game has a real end of season feel about it, which is another way of saying not much has happened yet!

    1mins – United win the toss and we will kick off hitting towards the shed end.


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “We should do better with our defending, and we should be concerned about the way we conceded the goals today. I’m not taking anything away from Dundee United today, but not one of their goals was a good goal – it was all through poor defending.

    “It’s concerning, the defensive side of our game in the last few weeks.

    “We have to do a lot better. We’ve got a game against Kilmarnock on Wednesday night and we need a victory. We need to get a good performance and a good result and focus on that.

    “The bottom line is that when we go into that final we’ve got to be at our best, and I know momentum will carry a lot into it.”

    Dundee Utd manager Peter Houston:

    “I’m delighted with the whole team. All eleven of them did a good job.

    “I think Motherwell have one eye on the Scottish Cup final, if I’m being honest.

    “It happened to us last season when you mix up your team a bit.” 


    [poll id=”53″]

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    Kilmarnock Hospitality

    The last home game of the season is against Kilmarnock next Wednesday and we have a fantastic hospitality package open to all fans for only £55.

    A delicious 2 course meal will be served in the Centenary Suite between 5.45pm and 6.45pm. 

    Your match ticket, programme and team sheet is included in the price and half time tea will be served at your table.  As always, our resident ‘91 heroes will be in attendance with Stevie Kirk as your match host and Dougie Arnott at the bar.

    To book

    360o virtual tour

    Hosp Pic 01

    Hosp 2

    Hosp 3

    Hosp 4

  • Archive

    Cup Final Ticket Update

    As of Thursday evening, approximately 10,000 tickets have been sold for the Scottish Cup Final.

    Season Ticket holders have until close of play on Saturday to claim up to four tickets each. From Monday (9th May), tickets will go on sale to fans who have applied through the Supporters Ballot.

    With the numbers who have already applied, it is unlikely that there will be a full general sale of tickets.

    If you have still to apply via the supporter’s ballot, do so now by CLICKING HERE.

    You can bypass the ballot by becoming a 2011/2012 Season Ticket holder – for full information – CLICK HERE.

  • Archive

    Hutchinson hoping for fresh ‘Well

    As Motherwell prepare to rack up the big “five-oh” Shaun Hutchinson has dismissed any talk of tiredness.

    The gaffer has admitted that he may consider freshening up the squad ahead of the trip to Tannadice for the – remarkably – 50th game of the season for the Steelmen.

    And while Geordie Hutchinson acknowledges that any changes will benefit competition within the squad ahead of the Cup final, he doesn’t reckon the ‘Well lads are suffering from the rigours of a long campaign – which started all the way back in Iceland in the middle of July.

    “A few of the boys have played a lot of football this season and any changes to the team will be a great opportunity for other players to prove themselves for the Final.” Hutchinson said.

    “That’s the biggest game of the season and some of the boys will have a great chance to earn themselves a place in the team.

    “Over the course of the season, playing so many games can have an effect but the manager has planned his training very well and we work hard on the right days and rest at the right times. Everyone is feeling OK at the moment.”

    The big defenders positivity may be, largely, down to the recent results against this weekend’s opponents, Dundee United.

    With four wins, a draw and just one defeat against the talented Arabs, Motherwell can justifiably head up to Tayside in good spirits.

    And Hutchinson has no doubt what the gameplan will be; stop United’s stars and then get the ball to Murphy, Humphrey, Jeffers and Sutton, and let them cause havoc…again.

    “I feel pretty lucky – every time we’ve played United in recent times our front four have been on fire,” the talented youngster laughed. “We’ve generally played really well against them this season and hopefully that will continue tomorrow.

    “You know the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses going into every game and we’ll do our best to make sure the likes of Goodwillie and Conway can’t cause damage, and we’ll get the ball to the forwards who can do what they have been doing all season.”

    The 20-year old also confessed to the assembled press this morning that he was left ‘gutted’ by the defeat to Rangers last week.

    He admits it’s tough for any defender to suffer that type of mauling – but it’s time to make amends: “We don’t want to dwell on it, but last week was a poor result.

    “So it’s important to go up there and get a good result because we are still chasing fifth place and that has to be our aim. Settling for sixth place this season is not something we are interested in; we want to push on.

    “The defenders feel most of the pain when five goals fly past you, but it’s a team performance and everyone was gutted at the final result.”

  • Archive

    McCall wary of Terrors backlash

    Stuart McCall has admitted that he is wary of a Dundee United side which may be out for vengeance this weekend.

    The Steelmen have inflicted several of the Arabs’ most painful moments this season; knocking them out of the Co-operative Insurance Cup quarter-final and ensuring that they wouldn’t be making it two Scottish Cups on the trot by defeating Houston’s men at the same stage in that competition.

    Indeed, the men in claret and amber have also beaten the Terrors twice in the league at Fir Park, so there’s every chance United will be relishing the prospect of revenge back in Tayside – and that’s something McCall is conscious of.

    “Dundee United away is up there as one of the most difficult ones,” the ‘Well gaffer conceded. “We knocked them out of the cup, they were the holders, and they will be looking at revenge.

    “It’s a tough place to go. I found that out in my second league game when we were beaten 2-0. We managed to put in a terrific performance in the cup and get 2-2 and get them back here.

    “They’ve got some terrific players. Unfortunately for them they will be losing a few of them and they will want to go out on a high. It’s a really difficult game, but when we got into the split in sixth place we knew we were going to be playing five sides above us and we knew we were going to have some difficult games.”

    There’s little doubt the Steelmen will have to improve immeasurably on last weekend’s performance against Rangers, which saw the Ibrox side fire five goals past a shell-shocked Motherwell.

    The boss was typically honest in his post-match assessment that day, referring to the performance as ‘embarrassing.’ Seven days later, the defeat is still smarting – but he believes his side are ready to bounce back with a suitably positive performance at Tannadice.

    He continued:  “I’ve looked at the game again twice and my thoughts on the game then were the same as now; first half we more than matched Rangers in an even, competitive game. Once they got the second goal they lifted and got stronger, we looked a bit leg weary.

    “The three goals they scored thereafter were terrific goals. There was nothing we could do about them. Naismith probably won’t score two goals in a game like that in his career.

    “Sometimes you’ve got to hold your hands up. I’ve said that – the second 45 we didn’t perform with any energy or zest and I think that might just have been off the back of a long season.

    “But the group have done the club proud. From the European game, the CIS – they had a terrific run in that – and now the Scottish Cup final and finished in the top six. Yes, we’ve had blips on the way, but so does every team.”

    McCall hopes that the odd ‘blip’ this season won’t cost his side a shot at fifth spot in the table. The former Bradford gaffer has pinpointed usurping Killie – who visit Fir Park for a crunch encounter on Wednesday evening – as the club’s remaining SPL target.

    He knows it will be tough, but a positive result against United could be half the battle, with Kilmarnock having to face Celtic and Rangers as well as Motherwell in their final three matches.

    “We’re under no illusions how difficult the games we’ve got are,” McCall said candidly. “We came into the split and we wanted to catch Kilmarnock.

    “To do that now, with Kilmarnock getting a point against Hearts and assuming they are beaten by the Old Firm, we’ve got to beat Kilmarnock in the game on Wednesday. But because of the goal difference we also need to take another point. We’ll be looking to do that at Dundee United.”

    The gaffer also confirmed that, for the moment, there was ‘nothing to report’ on the contract front, although he confirmed Steve Jennings agent would be visiting next week to discuss terms on a new deal.