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    Officials appointed for Celtic clash

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    Murphy has final dream

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    McCall looks ahead to Celtic finale

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    Murphy nets Young Player gong

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    Social Care training scheme celebrated

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    Player Sponsor’s Evening

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    McCall content with home point

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    Kilmarnock draw in pictures

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    Motherwell 1 – 1 Kilmarnock

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    Ballot update

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    Officials appointed for Celtic clash

    Referee for tomorrow’s Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League clash with Celtic is Alan Muir.

    It will be Muir’s fourth ‘Well game of the season, having overseen the 1-1 draw with St Mirren in Paisley last November, January’s 2-0 win over Hibs at Fir Park and February’s 6-0 capitulation at Ibrox.

    He’ll be a familiar face to Motherwell fans having taken charge of three games last term too.

    The most recent was certainly one to forget though; a 4-0 defeat by Celtic in Glasgow one year ago.

    He took charge of the 3-2 extra-time with over Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Co-operative Insurance Cup Fourth Round and the lively 2-2 draw against Dundee United back in late November 2009.

    The latter was infamous for two red cards, shown to Prince Bauben and Danny Swanson, and a missed red card for Jennison Myrie-Williams which prompted the then United boss Craig Levein to remove him from the game almost immediately.

    The season before last, Muir was the man in the middle for the 1-0 defeat to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in October, the 0-0 draw with St Mirren at Love Street in January and the 3-0 victory over Hamilton Accies at New Douglas Park in May.

    In all those games he has produced 31 yellow cards, fourteen of which were shown to a player in claret and amber, and two red card, the first given to former defender Paul Quinn for a professional foul on David Fernandez in the 1-0 defeat to Killie and the most recent to Michael Higdon in that game with St Mirren two months ago.

    The 35-year-old has taken charge of fifteen SPL games in this campaign, including Celtic’s 9-0 annihilation of Aberdeen which produced three yellow cards, two red cards and three penalty kicks.

    He will be ably assisted on the day by Billy Baxter and Steve Pullar, with Crawford Allan on fourth official duties.

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    Murphy has final dream

    ‘I’d trade it all for the Scottish Cup!’ That’s the view of Motherwell starlet Jamie Murphy, after the gifted forward picked up yet another award in a splendid season.

    Murphy added the Clydesdale Bank Young Player of the Month award for April to his consecutive Player of the Round awards in the Scottish Cup. Indeed, as a hectic season draws to a close there are few players that are impressing as much as young Jamie.

    And, while the accolades are pleasing and the player believes he is becoming a better player, he admits that the success will be hollow without a winners’ medal on the 21st May.

    A typically modest Murphy said: “It’s great to get recognised for playing well, I must be doing something right. It’s good to get that but I would trade it in for the Scottish Cup.

    “The start of the season seems so long ago, but I feel like a better player now. I hope I can continue to impress, my aim is to be the best player I possibly can.”

    Hampden Park looms large in the mind of players, staff and fans alike at the moment, but there is still the matter of a trip to Celtic Park on Sunday to contend with.

    The Scotland under-21 international is of the same opinion as his gaffer; concentrate on the SPL encounter with Celtic – then start to think about the final.

    “You always want to be involved in big games and Sunday is definitely a big game.” He enthused. “You want to go to places like Parkhead and Ibrox and win, so we`re going to do everything we can to do that.

    “I’m sure it will be a completely different game [from the Cup final]. The final will be different altogether so we’re just focusing on this game. We’re not thinking after Sunday and we’re just focused on trying to get a win. We want to win for ourselves so we can show we can play well against Celtic before the final.”

    The gifted 21-year old also dismissed any suggestion that he needs a rest as the Cup final ticks ever-closer. Murphy has played a major part in the vast majority of ‘Well’s 51 games this season, but he insists that he is ready to feature in number 52 if McCall gives him the call.

    “A few of the boys were a bit tired today and I came in and I was all right.” Murphy, who was rested during the midweek draw with Kilmarnock, smiled.

    “But when I was watching the game I was just desperate to be on the park. The manager named the squad and I wasn’t in it, it’s completely up to the manager what happens. I’m sure he’ll do the best for the team against Celtic too.”

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    McCall looks ahead to Celtic finale

    Stuart McCall admits he won’t risk any players with niggles or knocks ahead of the trip to Celtic Park – but insists he is still heading to Glasgow with three points in mind.

    With Celtic requiring a win to clinch the title – if Rangers slip up – it is somewhat inevitable that some people will be paying close attention to the Steelmen’s starting line-up in the East End of Glasgow.

    But with a Cup final six days later, McCall is only thinking about looking after his own charges for ‘Well’s 52nd match of a marathon season.

    Speaking as Motherwell helped to re-launch Lanarkshire’s Mental Health and well-being Information website www.elament.org.uk, McCall said: “If we could have beaten Kilmarnock in the week then it might have been a different story.

    “You have to look at every angle, and we now can’t finish fifth – that’s not to say we won’t try and win the match; we absolutely will.

    “It’s been a long season and we have lads who are carrying little knocks and niggles which have cropped up in the last couple of days, so if there is any doubt whatsoever over any players’ fitness then they will not play.

    “But we approach this match like we approach any other game; we want to put in a committed display and hopefully win the match. We’re under no illusions just how tough that will be. There will be a full house there and they’ve bounced back very well from the defeat in Inverness.”

    The gaffer has admitted that one of those players who may miss out is Darren Randolph. The big Irish stopper has been a fantastic acquisition for the Steelmen, but could miss out on Sunday with a slight strain. It couple potentially mean a debut for former Airdrie United keeper Lee Hollis.

    The 46-year old continued: “We’ll just have to wait and see with Darren. It’s not an ideal situation, but if there is any doubt then we simply won’t risk him.”

    The Motherwell boss has dismissed any suggestions that nerves could afflict Neil Lennon’s men as a thrilling SPL title race reaches a culmination with another ‘Helicopter Sunday’ – a term coined after the heriocs of Scott McDonald for Motherwell, against Celtic, back in 2005.

    This time McCall reckons the majority of the pressure is actually on his old club, Rangers.

    “I think, now, people are expecting Rangers to go and win the title,” McCall said. “Celtic still need to try and do the job, so there is a little pressure, but the majority is on Rangers.

    “The major benefit, going there, is there is no pressure on ourselves.”

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    Murphy nets Young Player gong

    Jamie Murphy has been named Clydesdale Bank Premier League Young Player of the Month for April.

    Murphy has been on excellent form throughout April as he helped Motherwell secure their top six position in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

    Murphy played a key role in his side’s 2-1 win over Dundee United in which he scored the opener as well as helping his side to a win over Aberdeen and two draws against Hearts, including a superb fight back from 3 goals down.  It was Murphy’s attacking threat and pace that led the panel to vote him their Clydesdale Bank Young Player of the Month.

    A panel of Scottish football experts chose the award winners from a shortlist which included the top three fans’ nominations from Clydesdale Bank’s football website, www.cbfootball.co.uk

    Football fans can vote for their Manager, Player and Young Player of the Month during the last week of each month, and one fan who correctly votes for the three winners will be selected to win a prize.

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    Social Care training scheme celebrated

    A group of young people in North Lanarkshire recently celebrated their success at an event at Motherwell Football Club, after completing a pilot project for The Prince’s Trust Scotland.

    Get in Social Care, which was run in partnership with the North Lanarkshire’s More Choices More Chances Partnership and social care charity Quarriers at Motherwell Football Club, gave the group the opportunity to complete certification including epilepsy awareness, emergency first aid, food hygiene, safe handling, introduction to autism and SCIP (Strategies for Crisis Intervention and Prevention), as well as completing work experience placements with local employers.

    The celebration event was hosted at Motherwell Football Club where the young people had the chance to demonstrate the skills they had learned over the six weeks through a series of interactive information stations covering First Aid demonstrations and sensory tasks, as well as presenting their thoughts and experiences of social care to an audience of family, friends and supporters. 

    Geraldine Gammell, Director at The Prince’s Trust Scotland, said: “Get into Social Care is a fantastic initiative for the young people The Prince’s Trust supports and I am delighted we have been able to introduce it to our core programmes.

    “The programme provides a very practical and direct route into training and employment and with social care identified as an area young people have a very keen interest, I am confident that they will make a real difference while building a positive future.

    “I would like to offer my congratulation to the young people who have made this pilot such a success and also thank Motherwell Football Club for hosting the event.”

    The Prince’s Trust runs a range of Get into programmes, giving young people a taster of industries where there are real career opportunities such as retail, catering and mechanics.

    Jane Liddell, Head of Education Quality and Development at North Lanarkshire Council added: “The Get Into programmes we have delivered this session have given unemployed young people within North Lanarkshire new qualifications, skills and employment experience which we know will assist in moving them into employment.

    “We are very proud of the young people who have been part of the Get Into Social Care programme as they have demonstrated commitment, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn – all important qualities in preparing our young people for life and work in the 21st century.”

    Paul Moore, Chief Executive at Quarriers said: “Quarriers is delighted to have delivered this successful training course.  We’re committed to getting young people involved in social care and firmly believe our diversity and skills make Quarriers an obvious choice to deliver this.”

    Delivery of the new programme is being supported by the North Lanarkshire Partnership, the Wood Family Trust, The European Social Fund and the Big Lottery Fund.

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    Player Sponsor’s Evening

    The Club’s annual Sponsors Event will take place in the Centenary Suite, Sunday 15th of May. 

    All Player Sponsors will have already received their invitation to this prestigious event.  A number of tickets have been released for public sale and are available at £30 per person. 

    A 3 course meal will be served followed by a short Q & A with the Management Team here at Fir Park.  The Presentation by players to the Sponsors will be followed by the Sponsor’s Player of the Season Award. 

    Your host for the evening will be Fir Park favourite, Tam Cowan, making this year’s event THE perfect prelude to the Cup Final with only 6 days to go until the big day.

    This year, you will be able to bring along any of your treasured Motherwell FC items to be signed by the players.  If there’s anything you’d like signed, please make our staff aware on arrival.  You’ll be able to collect your items at the end of the night.  

    For more information or to sponsor a player for 2011/2012 please contact 01698 338008 or email (including your contact telephone number) commercial@motherwellfc.co.uk.


  • Archive

    McCall content with home point

    Stuart McCall was delighted to stop the rot of consecutive SPL defeats, and begin to build the momentum ahead of the Scottish Cup final.

    The Steelmen shipped nine goals in their previous two outings, but looked far more solid against the men from Ayrshire and also had several moments of incisive football going forward, particularly through the lively Steve Jones.

    And McCall has now set his sights on taking those positive traits into the weekend – and the Hampden showpiece beyond.

    “I would have loved to have won the last home game of the season,” the gaffer conceded. “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.”

    McCall was particularly effusive in his praise for his defence, which had been through a tortuous couple of matches recently.

    Yet against a lively Kilmarnock attack – Eremenko scheming, Dayton buzzing down the flank and Bryson bursting from midfield – ‘Well defended well and constricted Killie to only a couple of truly clear-cut chances in the 90 minutes.

    The gaffer continued: “We tracked runners and were defensively much stronger. There were certain spells that Kilmarnock looked dangerous, but I thought when we were on top we had opportunities that just wouldn’t fall for us.

    “I thought Kilmarnock played well, though; in fact I thought it was a decent game.”

    The Motherwell boss, after the match, also sought to put Motherwell fans’ collective minds at ease regarding Jamie Murphy’s absence from the match squad.

    The ‘Well star, so often a stand-out during the Steelmen’s mammoth 51-game season so far, was left out against Killie altogether – but the Scottish Cup quarter-final and semi-final Player of the Round will be back in the team when 21st May rolls round.

    “He’s one of those players who has played a lot of football this season,” McCall conceded. “And I thought I should freshen things up a little bit.”

  • Archive

    Kilmarnock draw in pictures

    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.

    [svgallery name=”kilmarnock110511″]

  • Archive

    Motherwell 1 – 1 Kilmarnock

    [tab:Match report]

    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.”


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    Ballot update

    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.”