Pictures from the 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park.
These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.
Pictures from the 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park.
These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.
Alan Temple at Fir Park
Motherwell and Kilmarnock shared the spoils in the torrential Fir Park rain, as the final home match of the campaign ended 1-1.
Steve Jones, pushing for a Cup final spot, opened the scoring early in the first half, cutting in from the flank and drilling past Cammy Bell, before a Willy Aubemayang tap-in levelled the score in the first half.
Cammy Bell and Darren Randolph both excelled in a lively second period, but no-one could grab all three points.
Stuart McCall had demanded an improvement, particularly in terms of defending, from the previous two matches, which had seen the Steelmen ship a remarkable nine goals. To that end – and with one eye on retaining fitness levels ahead of the Cup final – he made five changes.
Craigan, Saunders, Lasley, Sutton and Steve Jones came in for Gunning, Ross, Forbes, Carswell and Jeffers as the ‘Well gaffer made swathes of changes to his staring eleven.
Killie interim boss Kenny Shiels, who has made no secret of his desire to take the Rugby Park reins permanently, had his own recent woes ahead of kick-off, having still failed to break his duck in charge of the Ayshire club; six SPL matches without a victory.
Shiels made two changes from their recent 2-0 defeat to Celtic, bringing Jamie Fowler in for Mohamadou Sissoko and Willy Aubameyang in for Keiran Agard.
Motherwell certainly started like a side with a point to prove, and were ahead with the first truly concerted attack of the match after eight minutes. Steve Jones danced in from the left flanks and drilled a low, raking shot past Cammy Bell, who was utterly deceived by the effort.
Northern Ireland international Jones was causing the Killie defence all sorts of problems as he attempted to play himself in to Cup final reckoning, but it was Chris Humphrey on the opposite side who created the next decent chance, as the Jamiacan winger beat Garry Hay and whipped in a delightful cross, but there were no takers in the penalty area.
Kenny Shiels’ side began to enjoy more possession as the half progressed, particularly through Alexei Eremenko but, although the mercurial Finn was attempting to find the killer pass on numerous occasions, the ‘Well backline were dealing comfortably with the relatively pedestrian pace of the Killie attacks.
Indeed, only relatively tame efforts from Willy Aubemayang, with a header saved by Randolph, and Eremenko, who fired a shot straight down the throat of the Motherwell keeper, really tested the men in claret and amber.
And the hosts came close to doubling their lead seven minutes before the break. In fact, they did have the ball in the net. A wonderfully whipped cross from Chris Humphrey found the surging Steve Jennings on the edge of the six yard box, and his glancing header found the net via the far post. But the asistants flag was already raised.
An Alexei Eremenko free-kick, easily stopped by Randolph, would prove to be the final moment of interest in a relatively even first half, but one in which the home side patently had more cutting edge.
That lack of cutting edge was remedied a matter of minutes after the break, as Kimarnock burst out of the blocks in a blistering opening gambit to the second half. Eremenko, whose final ball had previously been wasteful, slipped a delightful through-ball to James Dayton who squared the ball perfectly for Willy Aubameyang to slot into the net.
It was a forebearer of things to come in the second half, as Kilmarnock enjoyed the vast majority of possession and territory. The rain lashed down on to the sodden turf, and chants of “Kenny must stay” poured down from the travelling fans in the South Stand, obviously enjoying what was being served up by the Caretaker’s charges.
Despite the possession enjoyed by the visitors Motherwell successfully kept the clear-cut opportunities to a minimum, and actually gradually found their feet in the half. That was illustrated as Chris Humphrey cut a teasing ball into the box which eluded everyone – including the goalkeeper and Francis Jeffers – before being cleared.
Darren Randolph, one of the stars of this Motherwell campaign, was once again on top form to make a splendid double save with twenty minutes left on the clock. Firstly, denying David Silva’s curling effort, then scurrying back his line to tip a Garry Hay deflected drive over the bar.
The Irish keeper was somewhat less stretched moments later, as Aubameyang wasted a good opportunity by heading tamely at the stopper from eight yards out.
Not to be outdone, Cammy Bell made a stunning save with five minutes left to play. Bell, who was superb on his last visit to Fir Park too, dived to brilliantly parry away a powerful Shaun Hutchinson header.
Both sides were pushing admirably for a winner, despite there being little to play for, and Garry Hay forced another good save from the ‘Well keeper as the Killie veteran drove in a powerful shot from just inside the area.
That proved to be the final action of the encounter, as the curtain fell on another tumultuous season of home encounters at Fir Park – with all the focus now on a mouth-watering double-header against Celtic to come.
[tab:As it happened]
Graham Barnstaple at Fir Park
Full time – 1-1 at Fir Park, same summary as half time, Killie better in possession we looked better on break
90mins – Carswell on for Lasley with only two minutes being added on
86mins – Play switches to the other end and Randolph pulls off a fine save from a Hay piledriver
85mins – Hutchinson header across goal clawed out one handed by Bell, not takers for the rebound
82mins – Gunning on for Hammell
80mins – Ref now giving fouls any time a Killie player hits the deck, and that is fairly regularly at the moment
78mins – Darren Randolph is not taking his goal kicks, but is kicking okay from open play??
74mins – Double save from Randolph from Silva and a deflected shot from Hay – keeps us in it
67mins – Killie sub, Dayton off, Taouil on
65mins – Tonight’s attendance is 4101, not bad for a wet Wednesday night at the end of the season
53mins – Yellow for Hateley, late on Dayton, then Jeffers on for Jones as a sub, Sutton now playing on the left with Franny up front
49mins – GOAL – Equaliser for Killie, Dayton cross from right turned in from close range by Aubameyang, 1-1 – not the best start to the half!
46mins – Second half underway with ‘Well kicking off
Half time: 1-0 Well, Killie loads of possession without a killer touch, we look good on the counter through the wide men
38mins – Humphrey cross from right headed in by Jennings but Assistant’s flag was up for offside – tight call
25mins – Craigan long clearance finds Sutton who nicks in behind the defence only to be blocked by Bell, who is injured in the process
18mins – Dayton corner headed at back post by Clancy, cleared by combined efforts of Hammell and Randolph
15mins – Aubameyang shown yellow for a late tackle on Saunders
8mins – Steve Jones goal is his first League goal for the club, his only other goal coming against Stranraer in the Cup
8mins – GOOOOAALLLL – Steve Jones cuts in off the left wing and his 18 yard shot proves too powerful for Cammy Bell 1-0 Well
1min – ‘Well win the toss, Killie kick off, and we are shooting towards the South Stand.
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“I would have loved to have won the last home game of the season but I thought we dealt well with a Kilmarnock team, who we have seen can play a bit this season.
“I was pleased with our application and the way we played the game, although it would have been nice to win, especially after we scored and then Jenno [Jennings] has a goal disallowed. But it was a well-deserved point.
“We have now got eleven days – obviously with the SPL match against Celtic in there – between us and the Cup final; the biggest game in many of the player’s and staff’s careers, really. We’ll approach Sunday in the correct manner, then we’ve got the big one.
“It’s just a fantastic way to end the season. For these lads to have started playing in Europe back in July, considering the lack of numbers, is terrific and they deserve every credit.”
Kilmarnock caretaker manager Kenny Shiels:
“I think it was a fantastic match. People talk about restructuring the league and all these negative things.
“We’ve got this narrow-mindedness that the league’s not good. With the population of Scotland it’s unbelievable the quality of play that can be produced.
“You would not see a game of football like that in England outside of the Premiership. In the Championship, League One and League Two, it’s hump the ball, it’s not attractive, it’s not good to watch.
“Nine games out of 10 we are involved in are really entertaining. We had a lot to play for tonight and we clinched fifth position, which is a terrific achievement.
“Motherwell contributed to the game, they got it down and tried to play but they couldn’t get the ball off us for long periods. I felt it was a thoroughly good match to watch.”
The Cup Final Supporter Ballot is well underway as fans who applied for tickets are currently being contacted by club staff.
Fans should be aware that process, via telephone and email, is still on-going and may take until the end of this week and into the beginning of next.
Chief Executive Leeann Dempster said, “We’ve had a few concerned fans getting in touch but making contact with several thousand people can be a lengthy process so don’t panic.
“We would anticipate the tickets to be sold out by the middle of next week meaning it is unlikely that there will be any general sale of tickets.”
Only a few places remain for our fantastic Cup Final hospitality package, priced at just £99 per person.
What better way to enjoy the biggest game in the last two decades?
Your package will include:
There are only a handful of places left – if you would like further information or to book, contact our commercial team now on 01698 338 008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Motherwell Football Club today (Tuesday 10th May 2011) issued the following statement in relation to the SFA Disciplinary Hearing.
“The club can confirm that it has received notification from the Scottish Football Association (SFA) that Chairman John Boyle has been fined £2,500 and severely censured after being found guilty of ‘behaving in an inappropriate and inflammatory manner towards the opposing team’s club official’ at a hearing in Glasgow this afternoon.
“Motherwell FC is surprised at this outcome and fully intend to appeal the decision at the earliest possible opportunity.”
Jamie Murphy has been the stand-out star in this season’s Scottish Cup; consecutive ‘Player of the Round’ awards for his quarter and semi final performances are testament to that.
And as Cup final fever begins to take hold in Motherwell he is looking to make it three out of three when the Steelmen face Celtic on May 21st.
“It’s something that is pleasing and it shows that I’m doing well. I love playing in the Cup and hopefully I can pick up another one in the final,” the 21-year old enthused.
“Cup games are a fantastic experience and it’s great that a club like Motherwell have made it all the way to the final, and once you’re there anything can happen.
“It’s the national stadium and there’s something wrong with you if you are not excited about the prospect of playing there. It was great to see so many people queuing to get tickets to come and see you play and I’m sure the crowd will be great and it will be a brilliant day.
“But we’ve got two games before that, and we’ll focus on getting positive results in them before looking at the final.”
As the Scotland under-21 star points out, there are still 180 minutes of SPL football to be played before the ‘Well players and fans can start casting their minds towards next week’s trip to Hampden.
Motherwell face Kilmarnock tomorrow night before travelling to Celtic Park on the final day of the league season, and after a disappointing couple of results for them men in claret and amber Murphy is desperate to get back to winning ways – despite the fact tomorrow is, remarkably, the Steelmen’s 51st game of a marathon season
He continued: “Everyone is going to feel tiredness a bit; it’s been a long season and we’ve played more games than most teams (in fact, only Rangers have played more) so it’s only natural that a few players are feeling some fatigue after matches now. But we’ll still give 100%.
“We’ve also not had much luck in the past couple of weeks, but we’ll still feel confident that we can do well in every match.
“There’s still a slim chance we can get fifth place in the league so that gives us something to play for, plus it’s the last game at Fir Park this season so we want to give the fans something positive to finish on.
“We played very well the last time we played Kilmarnock at Fir Park so there’s a belief that we can go out there and win the game.”
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!”
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.
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.
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.”