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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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    ’91 heroes hope for ‘Well

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    Kirk hoping for ’91 repeat

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    ‘Well fans start to party on Friday

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    Humphrey included in Jamaica squad

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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.

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    ’91 heroes hope for ‘Well

    Some of Motherwell’s ’91 squad have urged the Steelmen to go on and take their place in history, twenty years after they achieved immortality.

    The stars of that famous day in May will be forever remembered in Motherwell folklore; the sights, sounds and smells etched on the memory of any ‘Well fan at Hampden that afternoon.

    But two decades later and the likes of Craig Paterson, Captain Tommy Boyd and manager Tommy McLean remain convinced that Motherwell have what it takes to upset the odds and win despite being massive underdogs.

    Craig Paterson, a sturdy defender who has etched out a career as one of the country’s leading broadcasters with the BBC, said, “Everything was geared to Celtic winning the title and Motherwell getting into Europe. But now it has come to needing to win it to be in it.

    “Stuart’s done remarkably well to get Motherwell into the top six and to get to this final. They did the hard bit by beating St Johnstone in the semi where they were firm favourites and I’m not sure the fans liked that.

    “I feel it’s better going in there as underdogs with people not expecting you to survive as that’s what happened in 91 against Celtic in the semi. Nobody gave us a chance but we managed to triumph.”

    Tom Boyd is one of only two Motherwell captains in the club’s 125-year history to have lifted the Scottish Cup.

    Boyd, who would go on to carve out a fantastic career with Saturday’s opponents Celtic, still remembers the day he won the Cup with the Steelmen and still talks with fans about it now.

    “Motherwell fans still stop me and talk about that day,” he said. “They still thank me and that’s nice.

    “It doesn’t feel like twenty years ago, I can say that much. The run was memorable as the final itself. It was not just about winning the Cup, which the fans would obviously remember, but it was the manner in which we did it and, of course, the final itself.

    “Sometimes cup finals are built up to be grand occasions and very rarely do they live up to expectations. But that one did – and I hope it’s the same on Saturday.

    “Celtic have played the best football in the SPL this year and Motherwell like to get it down and play, too. It’s two attack-minded teams so the potential is there for another classic.”

    Tommy McLean, voted the best manager in the club’s history by supporters a few years ago, is another who will be cheering on his former team on Saturday.

    The mastermind of the Cup success two decades ago thinks this weekend’s Final will be an altogether different proposition but is hopeful the Claret and Amber men can repeat history.

    “I won’t be going to the final but I’ll be watching on TV and will be rooting for Motherwell to win the Cup,” said McLean.

    “The club has had been on a wee run a month or so before the final when they were playing well and winning games. Since Stuart McCall has been chopping and changing his side and who can blame him? He wants to keep his team fresh for the final. Certainly, if Motherwell play to their capabilities they can definitely win the Cup.

    “It’s a different proposition when you play the Old Firm at Hampden, but if you can get everybody to click and have no passengers then I believe this Motherwell team could follow in the footsteps of our 1991 team.”

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    Kirk hoping for ’91 repeat

    ‘Well legend Stevie Kirk hopes John Sutton can emulate his ’91 feat and shoot the Steelmen to Scottish Cup glory.

    Kirk netted in every round of that famous run twenty years ago and with Sutton having repeated that feat this year, until the final at least, the 47-year old hopes there is at least one more goal left in the current ‘Well hitman.

    “John has been brilliant and I would love nothing more than to see him nod the winner in the final,” he said.

    “I know what it’s like to score in every round and for John to repeat that is simply testament to the way he’s been playing. He was getting played wide left or right of the midfield and it wasn’t his position.

    “They were asking him to get up and down the park and that’s not his game – he’s a striker. He’s a good target man, he’s good in the air and, as we’ve seen, he can finish.

    “He’s a nightmare for defenders and when the ball goes wide he makes sure he gets himself in the box. Listen, times move on and maybe it is time for new heroes to come along.

    “These guys can be it; there is a great mix of youth and experience.

    “Guys like Stephen Craigan, Keith Lasley and Stevie Hammell have been here a long time.

    “It’s also great to see the young ones like Jamie Murphy coming through. This is a chance to become legends.”

    On the night that Stuart McCall’s men dumped holders Dundee United in the quarter-final, a banner was unfurled by Well fans in the East Stand.

    It simply read: Time For New Heroes.

    And Kirk, now a community coach at Fir Park, hopes that time has come.

    He continued: “We are still held in great affection by the fans and I hope this current team do the business on May 21.

    “The ’91 squad wouldn’t be bombed out, but we’d be moved to the side and that’s fine with us. We probably shunted the 1952 team out the road but they are still rightly regarded as legends.

    “If this team wins then it will be the same for us. Listen, the chance of winning the Scottish Cup doesn’t come around that often for a club like Motherwell.

    “When we won in 1991 it ended a 39-year wait. Now here we are, 20 years on.”

    Kirk is well aware of the task faced by the Steelmen though – coming up against a wounded Celtic side that have just lost the League Championship by a single point.

    However, the Fir Parkers have proven, as recently as February, that they can beat their Parkhead opponents and the former striker has urged the current crop to believe in themselves.

    “It is going to be very difficult for Motherwell, Celtic will start as favourites”, he said.

    “But we have nothing to fear. We are solid all over the park and in Lasley and Jennings we have two of the best midfielders in the country. I call them the Kray Twins.

    “They go about mugging people. They take the ball off them and make things happen. Both these guys can play. The club has been through the mire in recent times especially with the deaths of four players. We’ve also come out of administration and John Boyle has decided he’ll walk away at the end of the season after gifting the club back.

    “That’s a huge gesture. It’s maybe come at the right time for him to step down now we’ve got to a final. There would be no better way to bow out than with the Scottish Cup.”

    And what a reward that would be for current boss Stuart McCall.

    Kirk speaks regularly to his former opponent and hailed the job he is doing at Fir Park.

    “Stuart has done a great job,” Kirk added. “I don’t think he’s changed too much because we were a pretty good footballing side.

    “But Stuart has added some steel and determination. We don’t get bullied now and we stand up and fight for ourselves.

    “That’s what he was like as a player and he’s instilled that in this team from the start.”

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    ‘Well fans start to party on Friday

    Motherwell Supporters Trust expects a big turnout for its Eve of Final Party on Friday evening (20 May).

    Early feedback suggests that local fans will be joined by many ‘Well exiles who will be returning for Saturday’s big day out at Hampden.

    The pre-final celebration will be hosted at the South Dalziel Studios in Windmillhill Street and the doors will be open from 7pm.  The 1991 final will shown on a big, big screen as supporters exchange both memories of the triumph twenty years ago and plans for their trip to this season’s final. 

    Jim Griffin, one of the ’91 heroes, will be on hand to chat to the expectant fans.

    The evening is open to supporters of all ages and many will use the night to parade their cup final outfits.  The hall will be decorated in claret and amber and the bar will be open.  What better way to get in the mood for Saturday than in the company of Motherwell fans?

    Entry for Trust members is £3 while the cost for non-members is £5.  The price includes a half time pie for the first 100 through the doors – a £1 thereafter!

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    Humphrey included in Jamaica squad

    Chris Humphrey has been included in the Jamaica squad for their training camp in Brazil ahead of next month’s Gold Cup.

    The Reggae Boyz have moved to fend off interest from Scotland to bring Humphrey into the international set-up.

    Humphrey, who was born in Jamaica, is eligible to play for Scotland due to the fact his mother was born in Kilmarnock and Craig Levein was thought to be considering calling the former Shrewsbury man after being impressed by his performances this season.

    The 22-year-old has been earning rave reviews and he has played a key role in helping the Steelmen reach the Scottish Cup final against Celtic.

    A number of Premier League clubs, including Liverpool, Bolton and Birmingham are all reported to be tracking the jet-heeled wide-man.

    Humphrey is delighted to win his first call-up with Jamaica for their training camp in Brazil ahead of next month’s Gold Cup.

    “It is a huge honour to get a call-up as every player wants to play international football,” said Humphrey

    “Even though I also qualify for Scotland, Jamaica were the first to pursue me and I am looking forward to linking up with the squad.

    “However, at the minute my main focus is on this weekend’s Scottish Cup final against Celtic.”