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    McCall eyes up more targets

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    Motherwell U19s 2 – 3 St Johnstone U19s

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    ‘Well secure Clancy signing

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    Lawless keen to impress

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    Norris takes charge at East End Park

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    McCall pleased with Cup progression

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    Clyde win in pictures

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    Clyde 0 – 4 Motherwell

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    Girls Soccer Schools set to kick-off

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    ‘Well capture French youngster

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    McCall eyes up more targets

    Stuart McCall is still in the market for one more signing as he looks to finalise his ‘Well squad ahead of the transfer deadline on Wednesday.

    The Motherwell boss was delighted to be able to present his new versatile defender Tim Clancy to the assembled press today, and his focus has now turned to securing an extra attacking option.

    McCall has made no secret of his desire to secure the signing of Omar Daley who is currently training at the club.

    “I know Omar (Daley) well,” the former Bradford boss said, having worked with the flying winger at Valley Parade. “And I would like the move to happen. But there is a bit of red tape to cut through; visas and things like that.

    “But Omar ticks the boxes in the sense that he can play anywhere up font, like Steve Jones last season.

    [pullquote]We’re all positive and delighted to get Tim in from Kilmarnock. He can play in a number of positions, and for a club like us that is what you look for.[/pullquote]

    “He’s pacey – he’s just what we need and I’d be delighted if we got him tied up, and I’d be happy with what we’ve got after the signing of Tim Clancy.

    “We’re all positive and delighted to get Tim in from Kilmarnock. He can play in a number of positions, and for a club like us that is what you look for. I think Tim has probably played about a third of his games at right-back, a third at left-back and a third at centre-back. It suits us down to the ground.

    “He’s a good pro and we welcome him on board.”

    The Irishman, who shares an agent with ‘Well’s Stevie Saunders, could feasibly make his debut this weekend as The Steelmen make the trip to Fife to face Dunfermline.

    Few people would have expected this match to be a top-of-the-table clash at this stage of the season, but both sides can go top with a win – for 24 hours at least.

    And McCall is desperate for a victory in the Kingdom ahead of the forthcoming international break.

    The gaffer continued:  “We’ve had a good run ourselves and we are up against a side, in Dunfermline, who are unbeaten.

    “I haven’t thought about that [going top] and someone said Dunfermline can go top if they win. But it’s always nice to finish on a high before the international break; you don’t want to go into that with a negative result.

    “It is [a tight SPL] at the moment, when we’ve all got our fully fit squads. Obviously we’ve had a serious injury to Saunders, just like they’ve had one with the boy McGregor, but it’s when you get to the suspensions and injuries that you really get tested.”

    Motherwell’s midweek win over Clyde certainly created a feeling that the ‘Well squad may be deceptively well-equipped to handle the rigours of an SPL season, with the likes of Lawless, McHugh and Forbes impressing.

    And McCall admits he is delighted with the momentum that result brings and the performance of some of his fringe players.

    “We bounced back with a good cup win at Clyde,” he lauded. “The game was a potential banana skin.

    “We had to get a happy mix. The lads that all played have been on my bench this season and will be involved for the rest of the season so they needed games.

    “They came through well, and we had Michael Higdon getting on the scoresheet. Nicky Law and Steven Lawless got their first goals for us too. All in all it went very well for us.”

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    Motherwell U19s 2 – 3 St Johnstone U19s

    A late, late penalty denied Motherwell anything from the match as St Johnstone ran out 3-2 winners in an entertaining encounter at Bathgate this afternoon.

    Saints roared into a 2-0 first-half lead courtesy of goals from Chris Kane and a Ricky McIntosh penalty. However, Motherwell fought their way back into proceedings when Keiran McGachie headed home from close range then Nicky Devlin equalised midway through the second half with a cross-cum-shot.

    Despite late pressure from the home side, Saints would win it after a trip by Willie Muir on sub Andrew Steeves allowed Ricky McIntosh to tuck home from the spot for the second time, taking all three points home to Perth.

    Young made just one change from the side that overcame Kilmarnock six days previous. Josh Watt was feeling the ill-effects of an early season knock and was rested. In his place came new signing Hermann Mboa Mekongo, the Frenchman having received clearance to play earlier in the week.

    Expectations were high for an eye-catching encounter but the game actually took a while to get going. Both teams traded possession for the opening quarter with very little in the way of real chances at goal.

    Things burst to life though when St Johnstone took the lead after fifteen minutes. Right midfielder Ricky McIntosh picked up on a loose midfield ball and he sent Chris Kane through with a looping ball over the top. After taking a great first-touch touch and with Willie Muir rushing out to narrow the angle, the Edinburgh born 16-year old finished with aplomb, slotting under the goalkeeper to make it 1-0.

    Motherwell tried to respond instantly but a long-range effort from Lee Erwin went way over the bar with keeper Alistair Worby able to watch it soar out the ground.

    Things quickly went from bad to worse for Motherwell as Saints doubled their advantage from the penalty spot. The Steelmen were far from happy with the decision and replays would show they were right to be upset; it was an incredibly harsh call from referee Stephen Mitchell.

    A free-kick from the right by Liam Caddis, after Mboa Mekongo had held back Kane, was whipped in with pace towards the front post. Keiran McGachie challenged with Ryan Hutchinson, brother of ‘Well defender Shaun, and when the ball flicked up, it inadvertently hit the hand of the striker. No one claimed, certainly not Hutchinson, but the whistle went and a penalty kick was the decision.

    Ricky McIntosh was in no mood to show mercy and tucked the ball home into the left hand corner of the net, sending Muir the wrong way.

    Both teams traded possession, play was sloppy and neither side really took a grip of the match. That said, as the first half neared its conclusion, it was the hosts who applied the most pressure in the hunt for a goal. Zane Francis-Angol made Worby work with a low shot from the edge of the box after neat build-up involving four players.

    And, right on half-time, that man Francis-Angol was at the centre of things as Motherwell brought themselves back into the game. Picking up a return pass twenty-yards from goal, the former Tottenham youngster took on and beat Greg Mitchell before hanging a lovely cross towards the back post that found Keiran McGachie. The big striker out-jumped Gareth Rodger to bullet home a header from close range – his third of the season. Game on!

    The second half started with the Steelmen on the front foot and they were denied what looked like a stonewall penalty kick when centre-back Rodger blocked Adam Ashgar’s net-bound looking shot with an arm. Referee Mitchell was up with play however, in his defence, his view was obscured by Steve Hetherington which would go some way to explain why a spot kick wasn’t forthcoming.

    Be it a sense of injustice at a couple of calls that didn’t go their way or not, ‘Well had the bit between their teeth and eventually got the goal they deserved midway through the half. Keiran McGachie collected inside the area and did well to shield before knocking it wide to the waiting Nicky Devlin. The former Dumbarton full-back skinned McIntosh on the flank before firing a cross-cum-shot over Worby and into the net.

    At that stage, there looked to be only one winner and Motherwell kept up the pressure with two efforts from Lee Erwin. Both went over the bar but served notice the Steelmen were seeking all three points.

    Fancis-Angol went close again too, this time from a nearly worked free-kick, but again it spun wide the Saints keeper not having to work too hard for his side. Similarly, a long range effort from Mboa Mekongo bounced wide as Motherwell pushed and pushed.

    With five minutes left on the clock, Lee Erwin did bring out an excellent save from Worby – his spinning low shot from the edge of the area parried by the young goalkeeper before eventually been hooked away. Three minutes later the same player had another strike, almost from an identical distance, but it treacled past the left hand upright with the Saints keeper at full stretch.

    With all Motherwell’s chances, possession and crosses into the box, there was almost an air of inevitability that there would be a sting in the tail and it came in the form of a stoppage time penalty kick for the away side.

    Darren Brownlie left a pass back to Willie Muir half a yard short allowing sub Andrew Steeves to nip in. He got there just before the goalkeeper who clipped the striker; referee Mitchell having no other option but to point to the spot.

    Ricky McIntosh stepped up once again and slotted it into the same left corner as his first earlier in the match. It was to prove the last kick of the ball as Saints ran out 3-2 winners; a harsh result on Gordon Young’s side without doubt.

    Motherwell: Muir, Francis-Angol, Murray, Brownlie, Devlin, Hetherington, Mboa Mekongo, Ashgar (Moore – 69mins), MacDonald, Erwin, McGachie

    Subs Not Used: Stewart, Lynch, Leitch, Green

  • Archive

    ‘Well secure Clancy signing

    Motherwell Football Club have today completed the signing of Irish defender Tim Clancy on a one-year contract.

    Clancy, 27, started his career with Millwall but made his name with fellow SPL side Kilmarnock – playing 75 times in four years at Rugby Park.

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall has had to move quickly to plug the gap left by the long-term injury to Steven Saunders and the reliable Clancy, a former Irish Youth International, will provide excellent competition at both right back, left back and at centre back.

    Speaking exclusively to motherwellfc.co.uk, Clancy said, “It’s all happened so quickly but I am really pleased to be here.

    “Obviously, Motherwell were in the market for a defender after the injury to Steven Saunders and things just went from there.

    “I enjoyed my time at Kilmarnock; I’ve made lots of friends and have some great memories. But, for whatever reason, I wasn’t going to get an opportunity there so it was time to move on.

    [pullquote] It’s my aim to come here, try and force my way into the team, and hopefully repeat some of the success we had last year.[/pullquote]

    “It’s great to get a move to a club like Motherwell. The lads have started the season so well, this on the back of getting into the top six last year and reaching the Scottish Cup Final. It’s my aim to come here, try and force my way into the team, and hopefully repeat some of the success we had last year.”

    Steelmen gaffer McCall was pleased with the capture and stressed the need for additional quality and cover along the defensive line.

    “After Steven Saunders’ injury, it was important we indentified a player who was versatile and had the quality to play in a number of positions across the back,” said McCall.

    “Not only can Tim play at centre back, he is as equally comfortable at both left and right back so he’s very much the player we were after.

    “He’s a really good signing, experienced at SPL and has a great attitude. Anyone who I have spoke to about him always come back with positive feedback. He’s mentally strong, a steely character, and I am absolutely sure he’ll be a good addition to the dressing room.”

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    Lawless keen to impress

    Steven Lawless admits Motherwell’s history of giving young players a chance helped inspire him to become the latest Fir Park youth player to make the first team.

    The 20-year-old marked an assured debut against Clyde with a goal as he powerfully volleyed home from 15 yards to round off a 4-0 Scottish Communities League Cup win.

    Lawless has been a regular on the bench since returning from a loan spell at Albion Rovers, who he helped to promotion from the Irn-Bru Third Division after playing 27 games last season.

    The winger is likely to feature more often this season with Motherwell manager Stuart McCall currently boasting just eight outfield players over the age of 21 on his books.

    [pullquote]There is a lot of talent coming through. I’ve really enjoyed it since the manager has come in because he has given youth a chance[/pullquote]

    McCall rested a number of experienced players at Broadwood with the likes of Jordan Halsman, Stuart Carswell and Gary Smith getting a game.

    Lawless said: “It was good to get my debut and top it off with a goal but the main thing was to get through.

    “I didn’t feel that nervous because I was on loan last season at Albion Rovers and I have played at this stadium before.

    “I tried to go into the game in the same frame of mind and I just took it as it came.”

    The Hamilton-based youngster added: “It has worked out really well for me. I had a season out on loan and coming back there is not a lot of players. Because of finances, we have been pushed on a good bit.

    “I’ve been here about ten years now, I came when they went into administration. They have been giving youth a chance all the way through from (James) McFadden and (Stephen) Pearson right up to Murph (Jamie Murphy).

    “Hutchie (Shaun Hutchinson) broke through and I played with him in the under-19s. He is an established player now and seeing him play week in, week out has pushed me on a bit.

    “The team we finished up with (at Clyde) was basically the under-19s team from two or three years ago.

    “We finished third that year so it’s good to see a lot of them playing. There is a lot of talent coming through. I’ve really enjoyed it since the manager has come in because he has given youth a chance.”

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    Norris takes charge at East End Park

    Referee for Saturday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Dunfermline at East End Park will be Euan Norris.

    It will be Euan’s first in charge of the ‘Well this season but Fir Park fans will be familiar as the 33-year old handled two games last term.

    The first, a 0-0 draw with Inverness was instantly forgettable. However, the other was one that will live long in the memory. Motherwell beat Championship-chasing Celtic 2-0 at Fir Park; former striker John Sutton netting a brace.

    The season previous to last, Euan also handed two matches. He was the man in the middle when Motherwell edged out Falkirk 1-0 at Fir Park. Lukas Jutkiewicz got the only goal of the game, heading home a corner from the left after 18 minutes.

    His other game that campaign was also at Fir Park; a stormy affair between Motherwell and Hibs. The Steelmen won the game 1-0 thanks to a Jamie Murphy goal eight minutes from time but the game was marred by a red card for Liam Miller for a challenge on Jim O’Brien midway through the first forty-five.

    Thankfully, FIFA referee Norris usually likes to keep his cards in his pocket with only twelve cautions handed out in those games, with six flashed at a ‘Well players.

    Euan will be ably assisted by Brian McGarry and Graeme Leslie with Brian Winter on fourth official duties.

  • Archive

    McCall pleased with Cup progression

    Stuart McCall commended the attitude of the Motherwell players as they comfortably defeated Clyde 4-0 in the second round of the Scottish Communities League Cup.

    Goals from Michael Higdon, Nicky Law, Tom Hateley and Steven Lawless put ‘Well through to the next round with ease, in what could have been a potential Cup upset.

    “It’s always a potential banana skin,” acknowledged McCall. “I saw how well East Fife played at Dunfermline last night. It was good that we got the first goal as it could have added pressure if we hadn’t done.”

    [pullquote]All the boys that played tonight have been on the bench and will be needed in the next few months.[/pullquote]

    A side which had six changes from the weekend loss to Rangers was lacking in first-team experience but packed with youthful talent, and turned in a terrific performance.

    And McCall believes it bodes well for a long season, during which the likes of Lawless, McHugh and Page may be asked to play a pivotal role.

    “All the boys that played tonight have been on the bench and will be needed in the next few months,” the former Bradford gaffer insisted.

    It was the perfect response to the first league defeat of the season, which saw Rangers run out 3-0 winners at Fir Park on Sunday. And Stuart was quick to praise the attitude and response of those who took part against Rangers – as well as the impact of the players who came in.

    There was also the added bonus of maiden goals for Michael Higdon, Nicky Law and the impressive, waspish Steven Lawless:  “It was good for Mike (Higdon) to break his duck and get on the score-sheet.

    “Little Lawless as well; he’s a Will O’ the Wisp of a player – a jinky little winger who’s played well in the bounce games.

    “In no uncertain terms, before the game, I made it clear how important it was that the attitude of the players who came in was right. It’s always the case; if your attitudes not right then you can come a cropper.”

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    Clyde win in pictures

    Pictures from the 4-0 win over Clyde in the Scottish Communities League Cup at Broadwood.

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

    [svgallery name=”clyde240811″]

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    Clyde 0 – 4 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    Alan Temple at Broadwood

    Michael Higdon and Nicky Law grabbed their first goals for Motherwell as the Steelmen confidently disposed of Clyde 4-0 in the Scottish Communities League Cup second round.

    Goals from Tom Hateley and Steven Lawless – also his first goal, on his first start for the club – added some sparkle to the score-line as any hopes of a cup shock disappeared in the Cumbernauld rain.

    Despite resting many of his established stars, McCall’s Motherwell were ahead within the first twenty minutes as Michael Higdon nodded home the first goal of his ‘Well career from close range.

    The lead was deservedly doubled moments before half-time as Nicky Law produced a super solo strike to make it 2-0.

    Tom Hateley’s stunning second half strike put the tie to bed completely as the travelling Steelmen support witnessed a vibrant, professional display by their side.

    And, even allowing for some second period profligacy, Motherwell still had time to make it four with a powerful left-footed effort.

    While assistant manager Kenny Black had previously insisted Motherwell were desperate for another dramatic cup run, Stuart McCall’s team selection certainly illustrated the Steelmen’s commitment to the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, with six changes to the side which lost 3-
    0 to Rangers on Sunday.

    With a trip to unbeaten Dunfemline to come on Saturday Darren Randolph, Stephen Craigan, Steven Hammell, Steven Jennings, Jamie Murphy and Chris Humphrey all dropped out, meaning chances to impress for Lee Hollis, Jon Page, Jordan Halsman, Bob McHugh, Ross Forbes as well as debutant Steven Lawless.

    Conversely Clyde started with just one change from their side which defeated Montrose 1-0 at Broadwood at the weekend, with John Charles Hutchinson replacing Filip Mentel between the sticks for the Bully Wee.

    And Clyde’s established first-team players certainly started with all the vigour that you would expect from an Irn-Bru Third Division side in the mood for a giant-killing. Within five minutes Stephen McDonald had tested Lee Hollis, heading into the arms of the former Airdrie United keeper following a whipped cross from John Neill.

    Neill himself forced Hollis into action again moments later, driving from midfield and firing a low effort from 25 yards, skidding off the sodden surface into Hollis’ grateful arms.

    Those chances proved to be a false dawn for Jim Duffy’s men as Motherwell grabbed the lead on 17 minutes – with Michael Higdon opening his claret and amber account.

    Ross Forbes swung in a teasing corner towards the six-yard box, prompting Clyde keeper Hutchinson to flap at the cross as he tried to crash through a cluster of bodies, allowing Higdon to stoop and head home his first goal for his new club.

    It was a goal which saw the visitors settle and start dictating the tempo of the encounter, with Law, Lasley and Forbes patrolling the midfield with aplomb.

    Lasley could have doubled the lead just after the half-hour mark as he lashed a low shot from the edge of the box which took an awkward nick along the way, but Hutchinson went some way to redeeming himself with a fine low save.

    It was a temporary reprieve for the hosts as Hutchinson was beaten just before half-time, in mesmerizing fashion.

    Nicky Law picked up the ball on the left flank and proceeded to cut infield, dancing past three challenges and slotting the ball into the corner of the net from around the penalty spot. It was a magical strike, and a fitting way for the former Rotherham man to score his first goal for the ‘Well.

    The Law-Higdon double-act almost added to the score-line as the second half began, with ‘Well’s midfield playmaker picking out the former St. Mirren striker in the box, only for Hutchinson to tip Higdon’s powerful shot over the bar.

    And bizarrely, minutes later Bob McHugh was responsible for denying a dominant Motherwell their third goal. Big Shaun Hutchinson got his head on a Ross Forbes corner, but his goal-bound header was blocked by the helpless McHugh on the line.

    It didn’t prove decisive, as ‘Well did get their deserved third goal a matter of seconds later. Tom Hateley drove in from the right side and, from the edge of the box, rifled home a sumptuous curling effort with his left foot.

    Efforts from substitute Chris Humphrey and Bob McHugh both tested Hutchinson as Motherwell threatened to blow away the part-timers from three-tiers below.

    Indeed, Gary Smith and Bob McHugh both blasted shots off target in the latter stages in a match which Motherwell could have reaped a much larger score-line for the SPL side.

    But some deserved gloss was added to the result late on, as Steven Lawless lashed home a near-post drive from inside the box following a scramble in the Clyde box. The goal was the least ‘Well, and the industrious Lawless, deserved from a top display ahead of this weekend’s trip to Fife.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Graham Barnstaple at Broadwood

    Full time – Comfortable 4-0 win and through to Monday’s draw. Crowd tonight was 1800, with a healthy ‘Well contingent.

    85mins – GOAL! Five to go and it’s 4-0, Lawless firing home a debut goal. Three players getting their first goals tonight. Nice workout.

    57mins – Triple sub for Well as Lasley, Law and Higdon off. Good workout for the experienced trio; Humphrey, Carswell and Smith come on.

    51mins – GOAL! 3-0 Well with Hateley bending a left foot shot in from the edge of the box. Another great strike from the clinical Steelmen.

    HT – Half time and it is a comfortable 2-0 lead at the moment; Hollis barely tested apart from an early header. Good work from the young Steelmen side.

    41minsGOAL! Law cuts in from left, beats three and fires in his first goal for ‘Well to make it 2-0. Superb strike from Nicky Law.

    17minsGOAL! Motherwell! 1-0 as Higdon bags his first for Well by nipping in to head a Ross Forbes delivery past the keeper.

    10mins – The highlight so far is Lee Hollis beating two men in his own penalty area.


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “It was good we got the first goal, it could have added pressure. If your attitude’s not right, you can come a cropper. The attitude was spot-on. We had some decent play, some excellent goals, no injuries and some more experience for the fringe players.

    “All the boys that played have been on my bench and are going to be needed over the next few months.

    “It wasn’t that we were treating Clyde in any way disrespectfully, it’s just that the lads should be able to play in that game and they did do.”

    Clyde manager Jim Duffy:

    “It was phenomenal finishing. The first goal was a mistake but after that every finish was top drawer and there’s nothing you can do about that.

    “Our goalkeeper had a couple of brilliant saves from strikes. Motherwell played well and deserved to win, there is absolutely no doubt about that. All I can look at is my team’s work ethic and it was outstanding.”


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    Girls Soccer Schools set to kick-off

    At Motherwell Football Club, we pride ourselves on playing as a team to produce imaginative, entertaining and skilful football.
    Now we have developed our first ever Girls Soccer School at Our Lady’s High School along the same lines.

    Aimed exclusively at girls between the ages of 7 and 13 the Motherwell Football Club Girls Soccer Centre will use the same  principles employed by our first team squad including players such as Nicky Law, Jamie Murphy and Tom Hateley developing technical skills, game awareness  and passion for football.
    Our Soccer Centre welcomes girls of all abilities and it doesn’t matter which team you support, you’ll enjoy learning to play football the Motherwell way and at £40.00 for the sessions, its great value.
    You can book for the Girls Soccer Centre on our website at www.motherwellsoccerschools.com or by telephone us at 01698 239 926.
    Download our brochure by Clicking Here

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    ‘Well capture French youngster

    Gordon Young has moved to strengthen his Under 19s squad with the capture of talented French youngster Hermann Mboa Mekongo.

    Mboa Mekongo, a holding midfield player, has been on trial at the club for several weeks and has impressed in friendly and bounce matches, prompting Young to chase his signature.

    The eighteen-year old, who was born in Paris, was schooled at several French clubs but was most recently in the youth ranks of fallen giants Racing Club de France.

    During his Youth Development schooling, he has also spent time with Ligue 1 club Valenciennes FC and the famed INF Clairefontaine, with its notable former students such as Nicolas Anelka, Abou Diaby, Sébastien Bassong, Louis Saha and Thierry Henry.

    Speaking to motherwellfc.co.uk, Head of Youth Development Gordon Young said, “We were given the opportunity to have a look at Hermann and he has held his own. Because of his background, we have registered him as an amateur player but he will still very much form part of our Under 19s squad.”

    Hermann will most likely form part of the Under 19s squad that will take on St Johnstone at Bathgate this coming Friday – kick-off 1pm.