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    Anticipation building for Murphy

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    Ticket Office: Late Opening

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    Come and try at the Cup final

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    Alcohol restrictions this Saturday

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    Randolph desperate for Hampden glory

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    Win Scottish Cup Final tickets

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    Cup Final: Ticket Update

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    Craigan focused on Final fling

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    McCall hoping to take Celtic scalp

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    ‘Well sign deal with Cash Converters

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    Anticipation building for Murphy

    Jamie Murphy is reveling in the preparation for this Saturday’s Scottish Cup final, as the whole town embraces the Steelmen’s biggest match in two decades.

    The claret and amber bunting around Motherwell and the frenzy for tickets tell the whole story about the Cup fervour which is currently gripping North Lanarkshire, and ‘Well’s in-form striker is relishing the local hype which surrounds such an extraordinary occasion.

    “The whole town is behind us, and it’s just so good to see,” the former Scotland under-21 star enthused. “You see the flags flying out of the cars and out of people’s windows. It’s really special. We had some local school children in, and they were giving us the good luck messages that the made in class for us.

    “We know those fans will be there to support us. Like the staff, the manager; they just want us to go out and do well, so we’ll give it everything we’ve got on Saturday and hopefully that will be good enough.”

    To say it hasn’t been a normal week of training at Motherwell Football Club would be an understatement. So far it’s been a week of visits from school kids, bowling and golf – not to mention some hard graft in training – as Stuart McCall’s men look to plot the downfall of the giants from Glasgow’s East End.

    There’s also the increased interest from the media, which naturally comes from being the underdogs looking to shock Neil Lennon’s side.

    But young Murphy believes that Stuart McCall is getting the balancing act perfect ahead of the weekend’s Hampden showpiece.

    He 21-year old praised: “We had a day out yesterday with a bit of golf and tenpin bowling, which we wouldn’t normally do on a training week, so you can definitely tell that it’s Cup final week.

    “I really enjoyed it, and all the other boys did too. There was a bit of money getting put on the golf and it was a good laugh and that kind of thing helps to bring the squad together.

    “There are the press duties as well, and we’ve worked hard in training, so it’s all coming together really well and we’ll look forward to training on Thursday and Friday and the game on Saturday.

    “I won the golf, but I think the bowling was rigged!” Murphy accused, pointing the finger of blame firmly at Stuart McCall and his coaching staff. “The first game we had; the highest score won, obviously. But after that they changed it so it was the most improved score which won – so all the staff who were rubbish in the first game did well.”

    Despite the positivity currently flowing through the streets of Motherwell, the ‘Well star is realistic when analysing the task which awaits the players who emerge onto the Hampden turf wearing claret and amber.

    Celtic are overwhelming favourites to beat the Steelmen, with 15/2 available from some bookmakers ahead of the showdown – and Murphy knows he and his team-mates will have to be at their best if they are to lift the 137-year old trophy.

    He acknowledged: “It’s going to be very difficult. Celtic are obviously one of the top sides in Scotland, so to beat them we will have to have eleven players at the top of their game.

    “But it’s a massive game for the club and the fans, so we will be going out there with belief and giving it everything we’ve got. The boys are raring to go and we have a fully fit squad to choose from. Every game is great chance to prove yourself and hopefully all the boys put in a good performance and impresses on Saturday.”

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    Ticket Office: Late Opening

    The Ticket Office will be open until 9pm on Thursday and Friday for fans buying and collecting Cup Final tickets.

    Fans that have still to collect their tickets are being strongly urged to do so before close on Friday.

    The small number of remaining tickets will go on full general sale from the Fir Park Ticket Office tomorrow morning (open from 9.30am).

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    Come and try at the Cup final

    Fans can kick-off the action at the Scottish Cup Final, and help celebrate UEFA Grassroots Day, with a free come-and-try session in the shadow of the national stadium.
     
    Drop in to Lesser Hampden from 12 – 2pm on Saturday 21st May to take part in fun, free football activities.
     
    Under-16s can test their skills at various skill stations while adults can learn more about Scottish FA coaching courses and Positive Coaching Scotland.
     
    Plus watch young players from Motherwell, Celtic and Queen’s Park as they demonstrate the Scottish FA and Scottish Youth FA’s new National Player Pathway by showing off their skills in 4-a-side, 7-a-side and 11-a-side games.

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    Alcohol restrictions this Saturday

    Alcohol restrictions on trains will be rigorously enforced by British Transport Police on the day of the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden, Saturday 21 May 2011.
     
    Supporters will not be allowed to carry or consume alcohol on trains travelling between Lanarkshire and Glasgow, before or after the match between Motherwell and Celtic.
     
    Inspector Ricky McCartney, of BTP, said: “We will be working with our partners at ScotRail and Network Rail, to ensure that everyone who wants to use the rail network to travel to and from the showpiece game of the season can get there safely and on time.

    “However, there are those who are working or travelling by train, who are not attending the match. They should be able to do so with encountering alcohol-fuelled antisocial behaviour.

    “We want everyone going to the match to enjoy themselves and have a good day out. But, they must be aware that alcohol byelaws will be in force and anyone attempting to travel in possession of alcohol will have it confiscated and it will be disposed of.”
     
    The trains affected by the alcohol restrictions are:

    • Glasgow Central to Mount Florida and Kings Park from 9:00am until 2:30pm
    • Motherwell via Blantyre and Bellshill to Glasgow Central from 9:00am until 2.30pm
    • Mount Florida and Kings Park to Glasgow Central from 5:00pm until 8:00pm
    • Glasgow Central to Motherwell via Blantyre and Bellshill from 5:00pm until 8:00pm.

    The restrictions apply to all intermediate stations on the routes and appropriate notice will be given by the train operator, ScotRail.

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    Randolph desperate for Hampden glory

    The ever-impressive Darren Randolph is looking for one last milestone in what has been a stunning debut season.

    From European football to a trio of trips to Hampden, via a new clean-sheet record for Motherwell; the Irishman’s first season in Scottish football has been an eventful and hugely successful one.

    And the former Charlton keeper has now set his sights on topping it all – by helping Motherwell lift their first trophy in 20 years, come Saturday.

    The big stopper admits that it will be somewhat unlikely that he pops up with the winning goal, but he has set his sights on a match-winning performance between the sticks against the laudable firepower of Celtic.

    “I’m delighted with how my season has gone so far, playing in Europe and having a couple of good Cup runs,” Randolph said, too modest to mention his own 19 clean sheets. “And I hope it ends well at the weekend.

    “That’s the old cliché; the dream of playing in the final and scoring the winning goal. I suppose that’s not too likely, but I’ll be dreaming of stopping them – though maybe I could score the winning penalty if it goes that far!

    “The big occasion is when the best players stand up and be counted, and I know that all of our boys will do that on Saturday. I give ourselves a great chance.”

    If Randolph is required to play a blinder at the weekend then there is little doubt that he is up to the task. Indeed, his dazzling form has impressed none other than Italian football legend, and more importantly, Ireland boss, Giovanni Trapatonni.

    The ‘Well custodian has been in the last couple of Irish squads, and was included again for the upcoming Carling Nations’ Cup ties.

    But, while he is philosophic about his own hopes – “If I’m picked then I’ll do my best” – Randolph did express his surprise that none of his team-mates, particularly Jamie Murphy, have had similar honours.

    Murphy, Clydesdale Bank Young Player of the Month for April, as well as Scottish Cup Player of the Round in the quarter- and semi-finals this year, was once again left out of the Scotland fold, and the Steelmen number one is puzzled by it.

    “We were all surprised Jamie Murphy wasn’t called up to the Scotland squad,” Randolph confirmed. “In fact we were all surprised he wasn’t nominated for Young Player of the Year.

    “I think he should have been in there. Hopefully he will use Saturday as a stage to say ‘I should be in there – pick me.’”

    The 24-year old also took the opportunity – in front of a packed press corps, as Cup interest hits fever-pitch in North Lanarkshire – to confirm that he is absolutely fit to take his place in goal at the national stadium.

    He missed out on the 4-0 defeat at Celtic Park, and had reportedly been struggling with a thigh strain – but it’s certainly not something that is hindering him now.

    The Bray-born goalie confirmed: “I would have played on Sunday against Celtic if I was asked, but the gaffer thought it would be better if I rested up. But I was absolutely delighted for Lee [Hollis], he deserved that chance, and I was watching everything from the bench.

    “There’s no doubt about my fitness – I am 100% fit and raring to go on Saturday.”

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    Win Scottish Cup Final tickets

    Excitement has hit fever pitch as we approach the Scottish Cup Final, where we face Celtic at Hampden Park this Saturday.

    Stuart McCall leads the side into battle dreaming of walking up the famous steps at Hampden to lift the coveted Scottish Cup trophy and thanks to Carling, the official beer of the Scottish Cup, you have the opportunity to be there to watch all the action unfold. 

    Carling have given us a pair of Motherwell match tickets, so you can be at Hampden to cheer us on as we aim to get our hands on the famous silverware.

    For your chance to win simply tell us (over 18s only):

    Q: Who did Motherwell defeat in the Scottish Cup Semi-Final?

    Email your answer, along with your name, address, telephone number and date of birth to scottstevenson@thesportsbusiness.co.uk with “Motherwell tickets” as the subject heading.  Competition closes on Thursday 19th May at 2.00pm.

    Terms & Conditions: 

    • Over 18s only
    • Travel not included

    If you’re over the legal drinking age, Like Carling’s Facebook page for the latest Carling news, offers and giveaways! www.facebook.com/Carling

    Scottish Cup

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    Cup Final: Ticket Update

    With three days left until the Final, the club has contacted everyone who has applied for tickets via our online ballot. 

    After fulfilling any final requests today, Wednesday 18th May, the remaining tickets will be made available for public sale from the Fir Park Ticket Office from tomorrow morning (Thursday 19th May) at 9.30am*.

    If you have entered the ballot and still want to purchase tickets but have not yet been contacted then please contact the club today on 01698 333333 or by email commercial@motherwellfc.co.uk.

    * Very limited tickets remain and will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis.

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    Craigan focused on Final fling

    The final whistle goes, the 16,000 Motherwell fans roars in unison; the Cup is won. Stephen Craigan climbs the famous steps at Hampden, receives his medal and lifts the trophy above his head as the national stadium erupts. Motherwell have new heroes.

    It is a scenario which will have played out in the minds of every Motherwell fan ahead of the Saturday showpiece; a dream conclusion to the Cup fever which is currently spreading through North Lanarkshire.

    But the man who will lead the Steelmen out against Celtic insists that he hasn’t allowed himself to think that far ahead, describing that as ‘dangerous.’ Instead he will focus on the 90 minutes [maybe more] and trying to upset the overwhelming favourites from Glasgow’s East End.

    “I’ve been asked that question a couple of times, and no, I haven’t thought that far away,” the Motherwell captain insisted. “You have to just focus on the match and focus on your opponents.

    “There is a lot of things going on that the boys won’t be used to, like the increased media coverage. We’re also maybe not as used to playing in front of big crowds as Celtic are. So, I’ll not be thinking that far ahead. If it happens then it will be special – but until then I’ll be concentrating on the 90 minutes to play.

    “We know what it would mean to the club to win the trophy, but you can’t think about glory – because the moment you do the glory will get snatched away.”

    The stalwart knows all about having Hampden glory snatched away from him.

    Craigan is one of the few players left at Motherwell from the last major Cup final which the club participated in; the 2005 Co-operative Insurance Cup. A match which was something of a let-down for Motherwell, as Rangers romped ahead early on, with the first goal coming from current ‘Well star Maurice Ross.

    The Northern Irishman knows how vital it is, this time, to perform well in the match, contain their illustrious opponents – and not get caught up in the prestige of the occasion.

    “I was there for the [League] Cup final back in 2005, and it was over as soon as it started. We all enjoyed the day, waved to our families and enjoyed the experience, but the game was over far too soon.

    “This time we have to defend better and play very well. It is also vital not to concede an early goal. That can happen in every match, but it is particularly dangerous against either side of the Old Firm.

    In the transient nature of football it is fitting that Motherwell legend Craigan may have the opportunity to lift the oldest national trophy in World football. Having been at the club since 1994, the skipper knows better than most what it would mean to win the Cup.

    But, modestly, Craigan insists that it would be special for every player, and a wonderful way to end what has been a tumultuous, varied season at Fir Park. And, should any of the squad leave over the Summer there is the hope that they will leave as Steelmen legends.

    “The end of the season can be sad sometimes; players you’ve played with, fought with and argued with and it has to come to a conclusion,” Craigan mused. “Some players will be here and some others might not be. It could be the last time we all play together as a squad.

    “We all want to do well for each other, and it’s great that we can spend the next few days together, knowing that there is a Cup final at the end of it.”

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    McCall hoping to take Celtic scalp

    You wouldn’t always associate Stuart McCall with being the underdog.

    Six Premier League titles, three Scottish Cups and two League Cups certainly tell a story of a player who was accustomed to success. Yet, as a coach, he will be drawing on his experiences as ‘the little guy’ as he plots the downfall of Celtic on Wednesday.

    Celtic, narrowly pipped to the SPL crown last weekend, are overwhelming favourites to lift the oldest national trophy in World football, but that’s not something the Steelmen gaffer will be obsessing about.

    “There’s definitely a difference in expectation, but football – sport, everywhere – is littered with the underdog rising,” McCall enthused. “I look back on my own career and my Scotland debut; we played Argentina who were the World champions, nobody gave us a prayer, and we beat them 1-0.

    “When I was at Bradford, we needed a win against Liverpool who were going for the Champions’ League place – with Owen, Gerrard and all those players – and nobody thought we would win and we managed to get the victory.”

    Indeed, the positivity of the ‘Well boss shines through ahead of the showdown with Celtic. Motherwell have, at times this season, shown an undeniable ability to compete with the best Scotland has to offer, and McCall is counting on that being the case against at Hampden.

    The whole town is buzzing, and the boss has no intention of taking his charges down the M74 to make up the numbers: “We’re under no illusions about just how tough the match will be. But the one thing we can take heart from is since I’ve come here we have turned in four or five really excellent performances against good quality opposition. We know we have got that in us.

    “We’ll have to take our best game to Hampden, but our performances against Rangers in the Co-operative Insurance, against Dundee United here [Fir Park] in the Cup and when we beat Celtic show that we can compete.

    “There are a lot of young boys in our dressing room, but the matches in Europe put them in good stead, as did the trips to Hampden, so there should be no danger of stagefright.

    “It’s up to the players. They have been outstanding this season and if they can play to their best then we will have a chance of an upset.”

    Stuart McCall, speaking at the packed media open day, was also keen to laud the way the town of Motherwell has embraced the forthcoming Final. Bars, streets and cars are decked out in bunting and banners everywhere you look as excitement builds before Saturday.

    ‘Cup Final fever’ may be a cliché, but it is palpable around Motherwell as 16,000 fans in claret and amber prepare to invade Mount Florida.

    That excitement has also taken over the “Well boss, as he looks forward to what he describes as ‘the biggest match of his managerial career.’

    “It’s great to be playing in the showpiece of the season; the whole place has been jumping for three or four weeks now and the game just can’t come quickly enough for us.” the 46-year old praised.

    “When the tickets came out for sale and we saw thousands of people queuing outside for theirs; that really got the Cup final fever going. Training has been keen and full of quality and I’m delighted to have a full squad to choose from, now it’s just a case of being at our best on Saturday.

    “I just want the players to go out there and be the best they can be.”

    The Motherwell boss was reluctant to give away any of the details regarding his week of preparation ahead of the Final. The gaffer has praised the fitness levels and intensity of his players ahead of the encounter, and also divulged that he’s a few pounds better off after a flutter on a trip to the bowling with the players.

    That mix of work and relaxation will continue in the lead up to the match, as Stuart McCall uses all of his vast experience of Cup Finals north and south of the border to put together the perfect lead-up to the big day.

    “We’ve got a couple of things lined up ahead of the game, but that’s between me and the boys in the dressing room,” said McCall, displaying a little reticence regarding his masterplan in the days leading up to the final.

    “Our players won’t need motivated, but there are a few things we can work on, especially going into the game as the underdog.

    “After all, it’s about belief: knowing that you can do it, believing that you can do it, then doing it.”

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    ‘Well sign deal with Cash Converters

    The Club is delighted to announce that it has agreed a deal with Cash Converters to become our new principal sponsor from the start of the 2011/2012 SPL season.

    In addition, the brand’s logo will also feature on the back of the shirts worn by the team for Scottish Cup Final on May 21.

    Motherwell Chief Executive, Leeann Dempster expressed her delight at the news of the deal: “We are thrilled to be working with such a recognised brand and are looking forward to a healthy relationship with Cash Converters.

    Cash Converters Chief Executive, David Patrick, said: “It is a tremendous honour to be beginning a partnership with the Club at such an important time in its history. Not only are the team days away from meeting Celtic in The Scottish FA Cup Final, but 2011 also marks 125 years since the Club was formed.

    Cash Converters plans to work closely with the Club and its supporters to enhance the matchday experience, and also offer fans the chance to win exclusive, money-can’t-buy prizes. We hope the new partnership will prove a great success for the brand, the Club and its excellent supporters. We’re very excited about it.”

    Cash Converters provides consumers with a modern and convenient environment in which to sell used or unwanted goods for instant cash. Stores also offer a place to shop for pre-owned bargains and a range of financial services including pawnbroking, cash advance and personal loans.

    For more information on Cash Converters, please visit www.cashconverters.co.uk.