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    Craigan honoured by testimonial

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    McCall wants focus from his side

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    Rangers game live on ESPN

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    Leeds hospitality just £29 per person

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    McCall satisfied with Sons win

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    Dumbarton win in pictures

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    Dumbarton 0 – 5 Motherwell

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    McCall looks ahead to Sons clash

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    Randolph remains fully focused

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    Hollis satisfied with friendly form

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    Craigan honoured by testimonial

    Stephen Craigan has spoken of his honour as Motherwell prepare to commemorate his long service to the club at Fir Park tonight.

    The Steelmen will take on Craigan’s only other senior club, Partick Thistle, to mark the Northern Irish International’s 14-year run in North Lanarkshire.

    Skipper Craigan is in his second spell at Motherwell after initially arriving in 1994 before returning in 2003 after a three-year spell at Firhill.

    [pullquote]It is a nice personal touch that the club have awarded me a testimonial and it will be a special occasion for me.[/pullquote]

    “It is a nice personal touch that the club have awarded me a testimonial and it will be a special occasion for me,” Craigan told skysports.com.

    “My mum and dad and my wife will come to the game and it will be a night I will never forget.

    “I left home at 17 and my time in Scotland has been great and it feels like home now.”

    Craigan, who agreed a new one-year deal earlier in the summer, is keen to keep playing for as long as possible despite turning 35 in October this year.

    “Football can be fickle sometimes, but I have been loyal because I have enjoyed my time at Motherwell,” added Craigan.

    “The new contract was easy to renegotiate because as long as the club are happy with me, I am happy with the club.

    “The contract is settled and I am looking forward to the start of the new season.

    “Regards my future I am taking it season by season and I feel as fit and as good as I’ve ever been so I will keep going. We have got quite a young team and I am the experienced head who can help the younger players develop.”

    Fans should note that only the East Stand and Phil O’Donnell Stand will be open tonight. The Davie Cooper and South Stands will be closed. The Centenary Bar will be also be open to the public.

  • Archive

    McCall wants focus from his side

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall admits his side will have no time for sentiment when Partick Thistle visit Fir Park for Stephen Craigan’s Testimonial.

    Motherwell fans will have their opportunity to pay tribute to a modern day Motherwell legend on Wednesday night after 14-years and 351 games in Claret and Amber.

    And although the Steelmen supremo is thrilled for his captain, he is conscious of the need to use the match as a vital pre-season preparation match.

    [pullquote]I am really pleased for him (Craigan) but we certainly won’t be treating it as a testimonial game.[/pullquote]

    “First and foremost, I am delighted for Stephen; he has been a great servant to the club and he’s a terrific professional,” said the 46-year old.

    “I noticed that from my first day in here – he shows great professionalism in everything he does; both training and games. I am really pleased for him (Craigan) but we certainly won’t be treating it as a testimonial game.

    “This is a vital match for us in our preparations coming just ten days before we play Inverness Caley Thistle in the SPL.

    “It’s our third game now and we’ll be looking at giving most of the starting eleven the full ninety minutes.

    “Jenno (Steve Jennings) will be back involved and hopefully he can get a good half under his belt. Likewise, Darren Randolph is another who will return so we are all looking forward to it. Although it’s a testimonial in name, it’s a vital part of our pre-season line up and we’ll treat it accordingly.”

    Thistle will be amongst the runners and riders in the race for the First Division next season.

    The Firhill side return to Fir Park for the first time in five years and will provide stern opposition in the penultimate pre-season match of the summer.

    McCall has already laid down the gauntlet to his team in terms of what he expects this season and that will start tomorrow.

    He said, “The game is most certainly going to be a big step-up from Dumbarton; more in line with what we faced against Morton last midweek.

    “They gave us a good test and I am sure Jackie McNamara’s side will do exactly the same.

    “But we’re now two weeks into our training programme and the lads have been showing some great hunger and desire in training so that augers well. We’ve had a few team meetings and the players are absolutely clear what is expected of them and what our targets are for this coming season.”

    Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the return to training has been the emergence of some of the younger talent at the club.

    Players who were perhaps previously stifled are now been given an opportunity to show the Fir Park boss just exactly what they can do.

    And with the Motherwell squad light in terms of depth, the former Bradford boss is hopeful more than one of the young guns can establish themselves in the first-team.

    “My job and the job of the staff here at Motherwell is to improve the players both individually and as a group,” he explained.

    “At the moment, we’ve only added two players in Michael Higdon and Nicky Law and they have certainly added quality to our pool. But, with the financial climate the way it is now at most clubs, everyone is looking for their younger players to step up to the mark.

    “Guys like Bob McHugh and Gary Smith, who aren’t 16-year old kids, have put themselves in the frame. I have been really impressed with the lad Lawless when he has played along with lads like Jamie Pollock and Stuart Carswell, both of whom have done fantastically well both in training and the games we’ve played.

    “Big Jon Page has had a great start to pre-season and we need these lads to stop classing themselves as ‘the youngsters’. They are not here to make up the numbers, they have to aim to be involved and I don’t mean just as a part of the squad, but look to push people and get into the first team.

    “Look at young Carswell – we brought him in at the back end of last season when no-one really knew too much about him. I seen a few things whilst watching the Under 19s that I really liked about him and he, along with others, have been with us from the first day of pre-season and you can visibly see the improvement in these guys. I’ve laid down the challenge to each and every one of them. They must look around and see that we’re not exactly flush with experienced outwith the eleven or twelve or thirteen.

    “There is a great opportunity for them and they’ve got to look at the situation and think, ‘we’ve got a chance here’. They know that both Kenny and I will give them a chance if they are doing well and progressing. We want to get the young lads through; we believe in them. It’s now they’ve got to step up to the plate and take their chance when they are given the opportunity.”

  • Archive

    Rangers game live on ESPN

    Motherwell’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Rangers on Saturday August 20th will be covered live on ESPN.

    The game will now kick-off at 12noon as opposed to the originally scheduled 3pm kick-off.

    This is the only Motherwell match scheduled for live coverage between the start of the season and the end of October (Fixture Rounds 1-13).

    >> UPDATED FIXTURE LIST

  • Archive

    Leeds hospitality just £29 per person

    Enjoy our pre-season friendly match with Leeds Utd in style and dine with the club for an amazing £29.

    In what is Motherwell’s ‘glamour’ game against the English giants, why not sample what our new in-house catering team in the Centenary Suite.

    The package includes:

    • Choice of two hot dishes
    • Selection of cold meats
    • Salad bar
    • Bread selection
    • Apple pie & cream
    • Tea or Coffee
    • Your own designated seat in the Centenary Club Section of the Phil O’Donnell Stand and Half-Time tea

    All this for just £29 per person.

    To book

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  • Archive

    McCall satisfied with Sons win

    Motherwell boss Stuart McCall was pleased with his players’ application after a comfortable 5-0 win over Dumbarton.

    The Steelmen supremo spoke candidly before the game about how he wanted his first-team stars to show the right mentality and treat the game with respect.

    He got that by the bucket load as the Fir Parkers turned in a very satisfying display, netting five times without reply.

    [pullquote]“I told the players before the match that not only would we treat Dumbarton with respect, but play to our maximum and, to their credit, they carried that out.[/pullquote]

    “I was very pleased with the application of the players from the first minute to the last,” said McCall, who is forging a reputation as a manager who always demands 100% from his side regardless of the opposition.

    “I told the players before the match that not only would we treat Dumbarton with respect, but play to our maximum and, to their credit, they carried that out.

    “We were well on top but in saying that, Lee Hollis has had to make some tremendous saves early on. When we settled down we played some neat stuff and scored some nice goals.”

    With players such as Chris Humphrey, Nicky Law, Keith Lasley and Jamie Murphy in the ranks, Motherwell have a wealth of creative options from middle to front.

    That was reflected in the amount of chances created at goal with Sons keeper Stephen Grindlay busy for the whole ninety minutes.

    McCall acknowledged Motherwell’s strengths going forward but also insists that the squad have been working hard to make things more watertight at the back.

    He said, “I’d like to think, with team that we have got, and the quality that is in it, we will create chances against anybody.”

    “The way we play, we like to go forward a lot in an attempt to create but perhaps we need to be slightly tighter at the back as we can’t all go on mass. We’ve been working hard in training and I am pleased with the response I’ve had.

    “We’re also working hard on the fitness side of things too. Most of the boys stepped up from 45 minutes the other day to about 70, 75 minutes today and we’ll look to progress that on when we face Partick Thistle and Leeds next week.”

    Perhaps the biggest positive to come out of the result at the Strathclyde Homes Stadium was the performance of new signing Nicky Law.

    The midfielder, a summer capture from Rotherham Utd, was in sensational form, involved in everything positive Motherwell did, tormenting the home defense and even pitching in with a sublime goal.

    McCall, all too familiar with his talents having worked with the player on three separate occasions, called for more goals when he signed and he dully delivered, much to the delighted of the manager.

    “He (Nicky) has very good ability going forward and he’ll create plenty of chances for our strikers,” McCall continued.

    “Thankfully, today, he has got himself amongst the scorers because that is what he needs to add to his game.

    “The last two seasons he has been named in the League 2 Team of the Year and has had the most assists in the division but for his ability he should be getting more for himself.

    “He settled in well but this is a good club to settle in at. There’s a lot of lads his age, he already got a flat and moved in. So far, so good!”

  • Archive

    Dumbarton win in pictures

    Pictures from the excellent 5-0 pre-season win over Dumbarton at the Strathclyde Homes Stadium.

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

    [svgallery name=”dumbarton090711″]

  • Archive

    Dumbarton 0 – 5 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    Alan Burrows at the Strathclyde Homes Stadium

    Motherwell continued their pre-season preparations with a comprehensive 5-0 win over Dumbarton this afternoon.

    A first-half brace from Jamie Murphy gave Motherwell a comfortable lead at the break only for Nicky Law, Bob McHugh and Steve Saunders to complete the scoring during the second forty-five.

    Stuart McCall made just one change from the side that overcame Morton four days previous.

    Ross Forbes was introduced to the starting eleven in place of Steven Saunders who had to be content with a place amongst the substitutes. That meant Tom Hateley replaced the Scottish International at right full-back with Forbes occupying his familiar centre-midfield role.

    The SPL side dictated the pace for most of the match but had to rely on the reactions of Lee Hollis early on to keep the score blank.

    The Sons tested the former Airdrie man inside the opening three minutes when Coyne found space seven yards from goal but his low shot was turned away by the Steelmen stopper.

    That appeared to kick Motherwell into life and within 60 seconds, McCall’s men created a great chance of their own. Michael Higdon did well to run the left channel and save the ball from running over the line. He cut it back for fellow newbie Nicky Law but on his right foot, the former Rotherham man blazed high over the bar and the chance was gone.

    Law’s miss only delayed what seemed inevitable though and ‘Well took the lead after just eight minutes; Jamie Murphy the man on the score sheet once again. Law started the move with a terrific cross-field pass for Chris Humphrey who was in acres of space on the right flank. Opening up, he burst clear of the full-back before delivering a deep ball into the area. Higdon caused all sorts of problems challenging for the ball and his hard work allowed the former Scotland U21 man to pounce on the loose ball to prod home from close range.

    Dumbarton, to their credit, weren’t deterred after going behind and forced another terrific save from Hollis some five minutes later. Left-sider Agnew collected the ball on the edge of the area and his low shot was both powerful and on target. Frustratingly for Alan Adamson’s men, Hollis was again on his toes, looking smart to turn the ball away before it was eventually hooked clear.

    Motherwell were still the side making the best of things and a Ross Forbes shot from distance tested Stephen Grindlay, who was well placed to make the catch. A minute later, a lovely one-touch passing move almost allowed Keith Lasley in but Grindlay was off his line smartly to smother as the veteran midfielder was about to pull the trigger.

    If those saves were impressive, the Dumbarton stopper was seemingly getting better with each passing chance. He turned round a bulleting Stephen Craigan effort after good build-up from Humphrey and from the resulting Ross Forbes corner, Higdon’s header was again palmed away by the 29-year old former Celtic and Newcastle youth player.

    The Fir Parkers were now well on top and another excellent Humphrey diagonal cross was dropping perfectly for Forbes and his volley looked goal bound but blocked by a last-ditch tackle at the expense of a corner. However, the Sons’ goal wasn’t as charmed from the resulting corner as Higdon’s flick dropped for Murphy who was sharp to the ball, prodding home from underneath the bar.

    Motherwell were relentless and attacks from Hateley and Murphy came and went with the score staying 2-0. In actual fact, it was a miracle how Motherwell’s lead stayed at two.

    Keith Lasley again broke through and his shot was brilliantly saved again by Grindlay. The rebound flew up for Humphrey and with the goal at his mercy; the Jamaican shot was blocked on the line and somehow screwed over the bar.

    Grindlay was again called into action as half-time approached when he got down well to turn Murphy’s twenty-two yard shot round the post. From the resulting corner, Forbes’ cross found Hutchinson whose bullet header was saved yet again by the home ‘keeper.

    Right before the interval, Michael Higdon almost opened his Motherwell account when he latched on to a clever Law reverse pass. As he was about to blast home, he was quickly closed down and the chance was gone.

    The only change at the interval was in goals, with Lee Hollis replaced by young Willie Muir. The youngster would be a virtual spectator for his first forty-five minutes for the Motherwell first team.

    Down the other end though, Motherwell picked up where the first half left off and Higdon had the ball in the net after yet another brilliant Law pass but he was thwarted by the the assistant referee’s flag.

    New signing Law was pulling all the strings in midfield but not content with creating chances, the Englishman almost scored his first for the club after a lovely move inside the box ended with an attempted chip over the goalkeeper but, almost predictably, the Sons keeper was on hand to save before it was hooked clear.

    However, just two minutes later, in an almost identical move, Law would indeed grab the goal his play deserved. A lovely one-two with Murphy was completed by a delicate chip that nestled in the back of the net bringing the 400+ ‘Well fans to their feet.

    It was almost four-nil ten minutes later when Craigan’s header inside the box dropped for Hutchinson but the Geordie’s stinging volley crashed back off the outside of the post.

    That prompted a raft of changes from McCall with eight players being introduced over a three minute period, amongst them Steven Saunders and Robert McHugh who would both get their names amongst the goals.

    McHugh was first, latching on to a fantastic Jamie Pollock through ball before slamming high past Grindlay for 4-0.

    Further chances fell to Pollock and McHugh before Steven Saunders crashed home a header with virtually the last kick off the ball. It was a fitting end to an otherwise excellent Motherwell performance.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Alan Burrows at the Strathclyde Homes Stadium

    Full Time: Dumbarton 0 – 5 Motherwell (Murphy x2, Law, McHugh, Saunders)

    90+1mins – GOAL – Dumbarton 0 – 5 Motherwell (Steven Saunders). Resulting corner is met by the Scottish International. Bullet header home.

    90mins – McHugh and Smith race clear – five looks on the cards but shot from the former is blocked over brilliantly.

    88mins – Almost five… McHugh breaks the offside trap again but his shot is well saved. Rebound lands at Pollock but his effort is saved.

    84mins – GOAL – Dumbarton 0 – 4 Motherwell (Bob McHugh). Lovely pass from Pollock plays in the youngster. Great finish from the edge.

    80mins – Youngsters have picked up where the senior lads left off. Some excellent football in and around the box but not more goals as yet.

    76mins – Treble Sub now – Law, Murphy and Humphrey are off… McHugh, Lawless and Pollock are the replacements.

    72mins – Quintet of subs – Hammell, Craigan, Lasley, Forbes, Higdon are off – replaced by Saunders, Page, Carswell, Smith and Halsman.

    71mins – Ball looping into the area, flick on by Craigan, for Hutchinson show smashes a volley off the post.

    54mins – Law burst down the left, beats a few before playing a lovely one-two with Muphy. This time his dink ends up in the back of the net.

    54mins – GOAL – Dumbarton 0 – 3 Motherwell. Nicky Law aka GOD

    56mins – Law almost gets his first goal. Lovely one-two on the edge of the area but his attempted dink is palmed away by the GK again.

    54mins – Law bursts into the box and is fouled, ohh, about five times. Alan Muir isn’t interested, again. Welcome to Scotland Nicky!

    50mins – Corner from Hateley met by Hutchinson but header loops wide of the past. Second half picked up where the first ended.

    49mins – Higdon has the ball in the net but the game already stopped for a foul. Another terrific assist / pass from Law again!

    45mins – Second half gets underway – The Sons to get us going again. Lovely sunny day here!

    Half-time: Sub as Lee Hollis is replaced by young Willie Muir.

    Half Time – Dumbarton 0 – 2 Motherwell (Murphy x2)

    42mins – If only PA were here doing the stats!

    42mins – Nicky Law on fire again, slips in Higdon with a lovely neat pass but the big man’s effort is blocked for a corner.

    41mins – Dumbarton keeper Stephen Grindlay is saving his side from a beating. He’s in super form!

    40mins – Resulting corner from Forbes is met by Hutchinson but his header is excellent saved again!

    40mins – Murphy comes close to a hat-trick but his low shot from the edge of the area is well saved. Motherwell are dominating.

    38mins – Nicky Law is having an absolute worldy! His range of passing is frightening!

    34mins – God knows how it is only 2-0 – Humphrey has a great chance, collecting rebound after Lasley shot. His effort is blocked over!

    31mins – Penalty shout for ‘Well there. Murphy breaks the offside trap after Law pass. Round the GK and brought down. No penalty! Hmmmm!

    29mins – Bursting run from Hateley down the right flank. Cutting in, his shot blazes just over the bar. Almost 3-0 but not quite…

    24mins – Announcer gives the goal to Craigan but it looked from here like Murphy. Half Time video will confirm one way or another.

    24mins – GOAL – Dumbarton 0 – 2 Motherwell (Murphy). Corner from the right is flicked on by Higdon for Murphy who bundles home from close range.

    22mins – Another chance from Motherwell – Humphrey’s ball towards the back post is met by Forbes but his effort is blocked for a corner.

    20mins – Resulting corner is met by Higdon but his header is well saved again. Another corner, this time met by Law but shot is blocked.

    20mins – Almost 2-0 for ‘Well there. Corner from Forbes is collected by Humphrey. He tees up Craigan whose shot is brilliantly saved.

    14mins – Long shot from Forbes is comfortably saved by Grindlay! Minute later, Las almost rounds off a brilliant move but shot is well saved

    12mins – Dumbarton almost reply. Good move down the middle – ball eventually spread out to Agnew on the left flank. Low shot well saved!

    8mins – Incredible ball from Law plays Humphrey in down the right. His cross into the middle is dangerous. Higdon bundles to Murphy who slots home

    8mins – GOAL – Motherwell 1 – 0 Dumbarton (Jamie Murphy)

    4mins – Motherwell reply with a great chance of their own. Michael Higdon picks up in the left flank. Pull back for Law but shot blazes over

    3mins – Early Dumbarton chance when Coyne (familiar name eh?) fires low – well saved by Hollis. Wouldn’t have counted though – lineo had his flag up

    1mins – Motherwell kick-off and Humphrey goes right on the attack. His deep ball towards the back post is plucked by the Dumbarton GK

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I was very pleased with the application of the players from the first minute to the last.

    “Lee Hollis had to make to terrific saves early on but when we settled down we played some neat stuff and scored some nice goals so yea, pleasing again.

    “I’d like to think the team that we have got and the quality that is in it; we will create chances. There was some pleasing football as I have said and it was a good workout for us.

    “Most of the boys stepped up from 45 minutes the other day to about 70, 75 minutes today and we’ll look to progress that on when we face Partick Thistle and Leeds next week.”

    Dumbarton manager Alan Adamson:

    “We can take a lot of positives from this performance. Our goalkeeper made some great saves.

    “Scott Agnew did well and looks like he will be a good addition to our squad – but over the piece it was clear that Motherwell were that little bit sharper than we were.

    “There was enough there to suggest we’ve a lot to look forward to this season.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”58″]

  • Archive

    McCall looks ahead to Sons clash

    Stuart McCall has challenged his players to step up their pre-season preparations with a positive performance against Dumbarton.

    The Steelmen kicked of their pre-season campaign with a 3-2 over Morton, in a match which saw 21 players used for ‘Well as McCall gave the majority of his senior squad a run out.

    But the gaffer admits there will be a more conservative approach to this match, as he hones his key players’ fitness and performance levels ahead of the 23rd July kick-off against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

    [pullquote]If we have a sloppy attitude we will be punished, and that won’t be tolerated. But, to be fair to our boys, they aren’t like that; we have a good group.[/pullquote]

    “Since Tuesday’s match we’ve had another good couple of days training and everyone is looking forward to getting back on a pitch.” McCall praised. “I repeat what I said in the lead up to the Morton game; I am desperate to come out of the 90 minutes with a clean bill of health. I also expect to see things starting to take shape and I want each of the lads to push themselves further and harder.

    “I simply won’t accept anything other than full commitment and maximum respect from every player. If we have a sloppy attitude we will be punished, and that won’t be tolerated. But, to be fair to our boys, they aren’t like that; we have a good group.

    “We are looking for a high level of fitness from the players so they can go from the first minute to the last. Not only that; we also want drive and desire from the players – creating a mentality where everyone works hard for everyone else.

    “Jenno (Steve Jennings) will possibly play but my thought at the moment is get him back involved next week; 90 minutes against Partick Thistle and Leeds rather than a wee bit here and there tomorrow.

    “Other than that, Darren (Randolph) is the only other slight issue we have. Like Jenno, my preference would be to hold him back until Monday then go for it.

    “Apart from that, everyone else is fine. We had a bounce game on Thursday against a French Select side in Glasgow and that gave some of the fringe guys 90 minutes under their belts. That will allow more of the first-team boys to get longer against Dumbarton; quite a few will play the full game as we continue to prepare for Inverness game on July 23rd.”

    The former Bradford boss was also keen to laud the quality within the claret-and-amber ranks as the new season draws close.

    So far McCall has only added – as far as senior players go – Michael Higdon and Nicky Law to his squad but, despite admitting he is looking for another new recruit, the ‘Well gaffer is clearly content with his talented group containing the likes of Steve Jennings, Jamie Murphy and Chris Humphrey.

    The boss said: “Kenny (Black) and I were both saying on the way back from training today that they are not showing us anything we don’t already know; there’s a lot of quality there.

    “They’ve been looking really sharp and they look as if they are enjoying it which is good. We are asking them do to things and they are doing it.”

    One of the shining lights to come from the midweek victory at Cappielow was the performance of some of the younger players in the ‘Well squad, and McCall is keen to continue their development at Dumbarton, and as the season progresses and The Steelmen have to utilize their whole squad.

    “We’ve now got lads like Bob McHugh, who was injured for four months of last season, Gary Smith was on the fringes and Steven Lawless was out on loan and any time he did train at the club it was usually with the reserves.” McCall said, positively. “Add to that young Carswell who has stepped up to the plate; all are now training with the first-team and are visibly improving.”

  • Archive

    Randolph remains fully focused

    Darren Randolph has vowed to put speculation about his future to one side as preparations for the forthcoming season continue.

    The Republic of Ireland International set a club record with nineteen clean-sheets in what was a phenomenal first season at Fir Park.

    And his consistent performances throughout the campaign have reportedly caught the eye of some big clubs both north and south of the border.

    That may put some off, but not this laidback stopper who is taking everything in his stride.

    [pullquote]I just want to play regular games and as long as I am getting that here at Motherwell, I am happy.[/pullquote]

    Asked how he copes with the distraction of speculation, the 24-year-old shrugged, “It’s not really as difficult as some people make out; certainly not for me anyway.

    “All throughout the summer you see different players linked with this club and that club. But until someone actually comes in, then as a player you just treat it as rumour and gossip.

    “I don’t pay any attention to it whatsoever – I’ve really, really enjoyed my time at Motherwell so far; it is a great place to play your football. The dressing room is excellent, everyone gets on and we have a great laugh. I’ve also built a good rapport with the supporters who have been brilliant with me both at games and at events and things.

    “I just want to play regular games and as long as I am getting that here at Motherwell, I am happy. If something happens then that’s for the club to make a call on, my only focus now is getting ready and prepared for the new season.”

    Randolph only returned to training on Monday after a hectic season concluded with International commitments with the Republic of Ireland.

    The Dubliner was set to make his debut appearance for Trappatoni’s men but was thwarted by a niggly elbow injury picked up on the eve of the match.

    The lack of time between returning and the Morton friendly put pay to any involvement on Tuesday night but Randolph already has one eye on this weekend’s game at Dumbarton as preparations for the big kick-off gather momentum.

    “It’s good to be back in at the club but in saying that, I haven’t met a footballer yet who likes pre-season,” he joked.

    “It is also great to see all the lads again, they have been working hard and now that I am back in training, I am keen to catch up.

    “I sat out the Morton game during the week as I had only returned the day before because of my involvement with Ireland in June. I also picked up a slight knock over there so although I would’ve played and was keen to get involved, I was advised, probably rightly, to sit it out.

    “I hated watching the game though as any footballer wants to be on the pitch. But it was only my second day back so I will now look towards the Dumbarton game where hopefully I see some action.

    “Whether or not the physio or the gaffer agree remains to be seen but the injury is nothing at all to worry about though – I’ll be fit and raring to go come the Inverness Caley game on July 23rd.”

    The standout performer from that match at Cappielow was Randolph’s understudy.

    Lee Hollis was in terrific form, making a string of impressive blocks and building on his reputation as a more-than-able deputy following his first outing at Celtic Park last May.

    Randolph was delighted for his mate and reckons the unity between the keepers at Fir Park helps improve him as a player.

    “Lee and I, and the other goalkeepers at the club, get on so well,” he said. “I was absolutely delighted for him when he played so well at Celtic Park and again, on Tuesday, he was outstanding.”

    “We could have been two or three down had it not been for him so he showed exactly what he is capable of.

    “He is a hard worker who pushes me on too so that kind of competition at any club is certainly healthy.”

    Looking towards the season, the former Charlton star is confident Motherwell can actually build on last season’s success.

    The Steelmen qualified for the top-six whilst also reaching the Semi Final of the Co-operative Insurance Cup and the Final of the Scottish Cup.

    There are those who think McCall’s men face a tough task in repeating that feat; not Randolph.

    He said, “Some people are already saying they think it’ll be difficult for us to repeat the success of last year, but I am not so sure.

    “We have retained pretty much all of the starting eleven and added quality in Michael Higdon and Nicky Law and although we did do well last campaign, a few of the boys still talk about certain games during the season where we should’ve picked up more so that shows a real hunger and desire to finish higher than sixth.

    “Although we have lost a few players, we have added quality as I’ve said and in terms of the actual starting eleven, I think we have more competition for places rather than less. I know the gaffer has said he will add one more then look at loans too so there are plenty of reasons to be positive.”

  • Archive

    Hollis satisfied with friendly form

    Lee Hollis was pleased with the workout at Cappielow on Tuesday evening after an excellent personal display helped to secure a 3-2 victory for the Steelmen.

    The 25-year old turned in a marvellous display; making point blank saves from David O’Brien on three separate occasions and denying Archie Campbell with a top near-post save.

    Indeed, the understudy to Randolph was superb whenever called upon, being left with no chance for the two ‘Ton goals.

    But while Hollis’ performance may have caught the eye, the keeper was keen to shovel some of that praise on to his team-mates, after all 20 outfield players used turned in a lively performance despite Allan Moore’s side having already played two full matches.

    [pullquote]I did OK and I thought the boys played well in front of me; the young boys in the second half, too – I thought they were excellent when they came on.[/pullquote]

    “To make saves is what I’m there for, and I was happy to help the lads get the win. It’s a good, positive start to pre-season,” Hollis, who was the only ‘Well player to complete the 90 minutes, praised.

    “It’s nice to be back playing, which is the main thing, and the game was a good workout.

    “I did OK and I thought the boys played well in front of me; the young boys in the second half, too – I thought they were excellent when they came on. All-in-all it was good.

    Despite the challenge of playing understudy to the consistently excellent Darren Ranodolph, Hollis remains upbeat regarding his chances of breaking into the starting eleven at Fir Park this campaign.

    Impressive displays at Celtic Park and then Cappielow, this week, have illustrated the Bellshill-born Hollis’ capability as an excellent shot stopper and his decision to extend his stay in North Lanarkshire for at least another season shows a belief that he can challenge the big Irishman.

    “I signed another year over the summer,” Hollis, signed last season following release by Airdrie United recalled. “And all I can do is keep working hard and see where that takes me. There’s no doubt Daz (Darren Randolph) was outstanding last year – one of the best keepers in the country – so I’ll just keep working hard and maybe my chance will come.

    “There’s a great rapport between the keepers here; me, Daz, Willie Muir and young Tom Bradley all help each other and try to learn from each other so it’s a good place to be.”